By Rena Spangler
Two underdog teams, one with home field advantage. A second year quarterback up against a thirteen year veteran quarterback. Players and coaches alike with a lot to prove. The game that no one expected, but everyone was ready to watch.
The Rams had an amazing regular season record with 12 wins and 5 losses. The 2021-22 season was Matthew Stafford’s first season with the Rams after being traded from the Detroit Lions. He was the Lions quarterback for twelve complete seasons. He had a completion percentage of 67.2%, 4,886 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, and a 102.9 passer rating. In the postseason he had a completion percentage of 72.0%, 905 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, and a 115.6 passer rating. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp also had a defining season with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards, and 16 touchdowns. In the postseason, he had 25 receptions, 386 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns.
The Bengals also had a great regular season record with 10 wins and 7 losses. The 2021-22 season was Joe Burrow’s second season in the NFL, and a great season it was for him indeed. He had a completion rate of 70.4, 4,611 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and a 108.3 passer rating. In the postseason he had a completion percentage of 68.8%, 842 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and a 96.2 passer rating. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had a playmaking season with 77 receptions, 1,455 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. In the postseason he had 20 receptions, 279 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown.
Kickoff for Super Bowl Sunday was at 6:30pm EST at SoFi stadium. The first touchdown of the game was thrown in the first quarter by Stafford to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to start the game off with a score of 7-0. The Bengals first scoring drive was also in the first quarter, with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Evan McPherson, putting the Bengals on the board with a score of 7-3. In the second quarter, Stafford passed to Cooper Kupp in the end zone, resulting in another touchdown with the score going to 13-3 with a missed extra point due to a bad snap. The Bengals first touchdown came in the second quarter with Burrow passing to Joe Mixon who then passed to Tee Higgins in the end zone, with the score going to 13-10. The first interception of the game came when Stafford made a long pass to the end zone where it was picked off by Bengals safety Jessie Bates III.
Odell Beckham Jr., who is a huge playmaker for the Rams, had a knee injury in the second quarter with four minutes remaining and was ruled out for the rest of the game. The most controversial play of the game came in the beginning of the third quarter with Burrow’s 75-yard pass to Tee Higgins which resulted in a touchdown, bumping the score up to 13-17 and the Bengals taking the lead. However, it clearly looked like Tee Higgins grabbed Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s facemask during the play, although there were no flags thrown for what would’ve been pass interference. The next interception was once again thrown by Stafford who was aiming for Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek, but the ball rolled out of Skowronek’s hands and was picked off by Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie at the 31-yard line. This resulted in another Bengals field goal by McPherson, with the score going to 13-20 with the Bengals holding the lead.
With 5:58 remaining in the third quarter, Rams kicker Matt Gay made a 41-yard field goal, taking the Rams to a 16-20 score. With a phenomenal pass by Stafford to Kupp in the fourth quarter with 3:54 remaining, the Rams were marching down the field to another touchdown. With a penalty resulting in a half distance to the goal line call and another penalty call leading them to the 1-yard line, Stafford passed to Kupp resulting in another touchdown for the Rams, with the score going to 23-20 and the Rams taking the lead once again. The Bengals had one more shot late in the fourth quarter, but on fourth down Joe Burrow got taken down by the Rams defense. Although he did manage to throw the ball, it wasn’t caught, and with that, the 56th Super Bowl was over. The Rams had won their second Super Bowl with a score of 23-20, with a happy long overdue ending for many of the Rams players, whether old or new.