By David Thatcher, Clarion Sports Editor
Super Bowl LVI took place February 13 at the SoFI Stadium, Inglewood CA, where the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals matched up to make their attempts to win the Lombardi Trophy.
Amazingly, for the second time ever (Rams this year and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year), a team has had home field advantage in the Super Bowl. This is rare in itself, but for it to happen twice, back-to-back, the odds must have been astronomical.
This Super Bowl put me in a position where I wanted both teams to win.
The Bengals finally made another Super Bowl appearance since their last one in 1988 and had a lot of talent on their roster. The Rams also had a group of players whom I would like to see earn a ring: Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr, Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and a variety of other players as well.
The Rams have a “Super team” that has a lot of talent on offense and defense including players like quarterback Stafford, receivers Beckham Jr, Kupp, outside linebacker Von Miller, defensive line-man Donald, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and many other established star players in the NFL. With a roster of this caliber, it made them the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI.
The Rams took control of the game early. With their second drive of the game they scored with a 17-yard passing touchdown from Stafford to Beckham Jr., to make the score 7-0 in the 1st quarter.
Before the end of the first quarter, the Bengals were able to score a 29 yard field goal to make the score 7-3. The Rams were still leading by 4 points before entering the second quarter.
The Rams scored another touchdown except this time, the receiving touchdown was scored by the Rams receiver Kupp, followed by a botched PAT kick, due to an error on the placeholder, it made the score 13-3 with the Rams up by 10 points.
The Bengals fought back against the Rams’ previous touchdown by scoring one of their own with a 6-yard passing touchdown thrown by the Bengals halfback Joe Mixon, to Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, followed by a successful PAT kick set up by a 46-yard reception by Jamar Chase, who had a very noticable amount of separation against Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. This resulted in the score being 13-10 with the Rams leading by 3 points.
However, some unfortunate events took place in the 2nd quarter. During the Rams next drive with Beckham Jr. who got injured without any contact which further reports suggested he tore his ACL during the play after having two receptions, 52 receiving yards and a touchdown. Shortly after his injury, an interception thrown by quarterback Matthew Stafford ended their drive.
In the beginning of the 3rd quarter, the Bengals received possession and scored points with a 75-yard receiving touchdown thrown by Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who targeted for Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. However, this play caused quite a controversy as it was a very noticeable offensive pass interference committed by Tee Higgins which was uncalled and made the score 17-13 with the Bengals up by 4 points.
Besides that play, the 3rd quarter, for the most part, was uneventful in terms of scoring. Both teams scored field goals which ended the 3rd quarter with the Bengals leading by 4.
The Rams in the final minutes of the game scored a touchdown with a receiving touchdown targeted for Cooper Kupp. Although there was controversy about this play, there were many missed penalties against the Rams, the Bengals were called on 3 penalties in the red zone. It would have been possible if the correct calls were made on the missed penalties that would have been against the Rams, the Bengals would have been in the lead.
The Bengals tried to rally together some points and tried to get a field goal to tie the game and go into overtime, but failed to do so since Joe Burrow did not have as much pass protection. If Joe Burrow had an extra second or two, he could have found his receiver, Jamar Chase who was wide open for the touchdown.
Rams receiver Kupp was awarded with the Super Bowl MVP who won the Offensive player of the year. This award was deserved considering he has had a spectacular season, making him the triple crown receiver as well. (Cooper Kupp leads in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and receptions which makes him the triple crown receiver).
Although the Rams won, I am still bummed out about the Bengals heartbreaking loss. The Bengals have been the underdogs all season and postseason. However, the Bengals have a lot of young talent and a good chance at making another appearance in the Super Bowl.
Some other takeaways from the Super Bowl was the performance of star Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey who had a disappointing game giving up 160 receiving yards (the most ever in his career) and a receiving touchdown. Granted, 75 yards should not count due to a penalty (offensive pass interference) that was not called with the touchdown scored by Higgins.
The conclusion of the Super Bowl means the official conclusion for the 2021-2022 season which means a long offseason for fans and offseason preparations for organizations to be prepared for the 2022-2023 season.