The Los Angeles Rams are the champions of the National Football League, overcoming a key injury and a second-half deficit to hold on for a 23-20 Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Matthew Stafford hit Cooper Kupp with a short touchdown pass with 1:25 left in a Super Bowl drive worthy of Hollywood, as the two teammates played pitch and catch all the way down the field.
Then a furious Rams defense sealed the deal by keeping the Bengals off-balance until seconds remained, as Aaron Donald capped things with huge pressure on Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow.
The Rams, unable to run the ball the whole game against a stout Bengals defense, relied on the passing game in the second half, as receiver Cooper Kupp came up big again and again, including a key first-down run. Kupp’s effort was needed, as receiver Odell Beckham Jr. sat out the second half after injuring his knee. He had been having a big game until his injury, including scoring the first touchdown.
For his efforts, Kupp was named the Super Bowl MVP. He caught eight passes for 92 yards and had a key end-around run for 7 yards to pick up a much-needed first down to keep a drive alive.
The Bengals, four point underdogs and playing at the Rams home field, were stubborn throughout the game and refused to easily yield. They scored the first touchdown of the second half on a controversial play 12 seconds in. Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins, who scored two touchdowns in the game, grabbed the facemask of cornerback Jalen Ramsey, throwing him to the ground before hauling in a pass that he turned into a 75-yard touchdown.
It looked bad for the Rams at that point. A missed extra point on their first touchdown of the game loomed large, negating the chance to tie the game with a field goal. It looked worse when Stafford appeared to be injured, limping to the bench and sitting on the training table. But he revived and fired up his team, which needed his energy to overcome the surging Bengals.
For Cincinnati, quarterback Burrow played a gallant game, getting sacked 7 times by the Rams pass rush, as Von Miller and Aaron Donald began stunting and penetrating what had been a Bengals brick wall. Burrow finished with a higher quarterback rating than Stafford, but in the end, the final score was all that mattered.
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