First Time Winners Celebrate in Super Bowl LVI

by npatano on February 17, 2022

Professional Sports

By Joe Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

What a game. Super Bowl LVI was this past Sunday, Feb. 13 and really capped off a spectacular NFL regular and postseason. The game was played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA, home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams during the regular season.

Cooper Kupp snagging the game-winning touchdown for LA.
Photo Courtesy of the Manila Times

The Rams were always expected to be here. Head coach Sean McVay is one of the youngest coaches in the NFL and is heralded as an offensive genius. He has taken the Rams to the Super Bowl before, only to lose to the New England Patriots. But he and team general manager Les Snead would not be denied again. They went and got star power. They traded for stars such as quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions and pass-rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, and signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he was released from the Cleveland Browns. All of this added to a core that already featured top-tier talents such as Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey on defense and Cooper Kupp, Andrew Whitworth, and Robert Woods on offense.

The Bengals, on the other hand, had a miracle run to get here. Just a few years ago they had the worst record in the NFL and the first overall pick in the draft, selecting Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow. 

Unfortunately, Burrow would suffer significant ligament damage to his knee midway through his rookie campaign and miss the remainder of the season. The Bengals finished last in their division again and used the fifth overall pick in the draft on LSU wide receiver and former teammate of Burrow’s, Ja’Marr Chase. 

The rest of the Bengals group was slowly coming together. They had talented safeties but questionable corners. They had taken some fliers on the defensive and offensive line—only the defensive line panned out. The one undisputed fact was the skill position talent this team had. Chase joined a wide receiver room featuring promising young receivers such as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and star running back Joe Mixon.

Both the Rams and the Bengals fought hard to win three games before reaching Super Bowl LVI. The Rams took care of business, winning two of their three games by only three points. The Bengals had some close finishes, including a field-goal in overtime against the defending Super Bowl Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, to send them to the Super Bowl. 

Now for the game itself; the scoring started early when Beckham Jr., who was resurrecting his career with these playoffs, caught a touchdown over the head of a Bengalscornerback. 

Aaron Donald celebrates with his teammates after stopping the Bengals on 4th & 1, sealing the victory for the Rams.
Photo Courtesy of Sporting News

The Bengals responded, getting rookie kicker Evan McPherson into range for a field goal to make it 7-3 Rams at the end of the first half. It was an exciting first half and looked to be a close game early on. Stafford and the Rams responded as best they could, and Stafford found Kupp for an eleven-yard touchdown in the second quarter. However, a fumbled snap led to a botched point-after-attempt, so the Rams only walked away with six. 

Around this time, star wideout Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury. The Bengals wanted to end the half only down three and dialed up a trick play where Mixon found Higgins in the endzone for six. Cincinnati was fired up for the second half, as Burrow hit Higgins for a 75-yard score on the first play. A Stafford interception led to another Bengals field goal. This gave the Bengals a seven-point lead, which was cut into later with a Matt Gay field goal for the Rams. Then, after a scoring drought in the fourth quarter, Stafford found Super Bowl MVP Kupp in the endzone for an 11-yard game winning score. The Rams were victorious, winning 23-20 and capping off a fantastic NFL season.