Well, it actually turned out to be a pretty darn good Super Bowl. Going into the game the LA Rams were a 3.5 favorite for much of the time leading up to the game. The spread got up to 4, but late money went on Cincy to get the game back to 3.5. The game was also hosted at SoFi Stadium which is located in Los Angeles basically making this a Rams home game.
This was the 56th Super Bowl the NFL has produced and it was a tight game the whole way through. So, in case you missed it we will recap the action right here. The game was a 0-0 tie until about halfway through the 1st quarter when Matt Stafford of the Rams connected with Odell Beckham Jr. on a sweet 17-yd touchdown. It was Beckham’s first catch of the game. He was off to a nice start. It was especially sweet for Odell as he was traded from the Cleveland Browns, where he had ZERO production, and now on the Rams, he was a SOMEBODY. Not as much a somebody as Cooper Kupp (the best WR in football) but a somebody.
The Bengals stayed in the game by kicking a FG with :31 seconds left in the first quarter. So it was a typical end of the first score. After that FG the game was totally on and some action began. On the next possession, the Rams scored right away, taking only 2:37 minutes to hit Cooper Kupp for an 11-yd TD.
They did botch the extra point as the holder just straight dropped the hike.
At this point, the game was 13-3 and the Rams looked to be in control. But wait a second, these Bengals are feisty. And they mounted a 12 play, 7-minute drive to score on a trick play TD in which the RB Joe Mixon threw a TD to WR Tee Higgins. It was a great play that totally caught an aggressive Rams defense off guard. This made the score at halftime 13-10 with the Rams in the lead. So it was a close game and was pretty fun as well. The one downside for Rams fans in the first half was when Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the second quarter on a no-contact play. He just planted funny and it popped. It was definitely a sad situation for Beckham.
Then came the controversy. On the very first play of the 3rd quarter, Joe Burrow threw a bomb to Tee Higgins who was being covered by Jalen Ramsey. Higgins got away with a blatant facemask ripping Ramsey’s head around. The refs didn’t flag it, and the touchdown stood! BENGALS TAKE THE LEAD 17-13! Can this even be possible? Well, yes…it was totally possible. Even crazier was on the very next play (after kickoff), Matt Stafford of the Rams threw an interception. The tides were truly turning now. The once hot Rams were now very chilly and the Bengals were beginning to steal the game.
The interception gave the Bengals the ball at the Rams 31-yd line which pretty much put them in FG range. Especially a kicker as good as Evan McPherson. He kicked a 38-yd FG as they couldn’t move the ball much. Now the score is 20-13 in favor of the Bengals. Can they actually win this game? It is starting to look like YES…THEY CAN! The Rams weren’t giving up though. They answered the Bengal drive with a FG drive of their own. It was a 10 play drive. Now the score was 20-16 with the Bengals still in the lead.
The game cooled off as both teams traded punts to close out the third quarter. It continued to be very cold as there were FOUR more punts back to back by both teams (two for Rams, two for Bengals). This took the game to just under the halfway point of the fourth quarter. This was now Matt Stafford’s moment. This is why the Rams traded for him. Stafford was in his first year as a Ram. He led the Rams on an amazing 18-PLAY drive that ended in a 1-yd Cooper Kupp touchdown. It was unbelievable. The Bengals defense had to be so ‘gassed’. The Rams took the lead back in the game 23-20.
It was not good news for the Bengals. Not only did they give up the score, but they only had 1:25 left on the clock. And while they obviously wanted a TD, a FG to tie the game and send it to overtime was without a doubt in reach. Especially with McPherson as the kicker who was going to be tested.
Quarterback Joe Burrow of the Bengals picked up a quick first down for 17-yards to Ja’Marr Chase and things were looking real good. The Bengals then pick up 9-yds on the next play. Not bad. but then they just folded. All when needing only ONE FREAKING YARD for a first down. 2nd down…incomplete. 3rd down…run is stuffed for no gain. And on the FINAL PLAY of the game, Burrow got rushed hard by Aaron Donald, and Burrow avoided a sack by flinging the ball to the running back and that too was incomplete. GAME OVER!!!! The Rams got the ball on a turnover on downs and they took a knee.
Congrats to the Rams who went all out to make this happen. Picking up Matt Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr., and Von Miller showed they were all about winning the Super Bowl this season. As for the Bengals they have nothing to be ashamed of. They were a great “Cinderella” story. We learned that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the man, and in his second season he has shown that he is already in the elite.
We will see both of these teams in the playoffs next year. Both will have a legit shot at the Super Bowl again. And we have no problem with that, as this game, while not necessarily a “classic”, was a tight game and an exciting game. Congrats to the Rams! They deserved it. And I’m not gonna lie, I predicted the Rams to win at the beginning of the year. However, no bet was made on this, so who really cares, right????