LA Rams win 2022 Super Bowl as Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow sets grim NFL record (Image: GETTY)The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl for the
LA Rams win 2022 Super Bowl as Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow sets grim NFL record
The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl for the first time since 2000, and only the second time ever, as they sacked Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow a record eight times at their home stadium on Sunday night. The Rams overcame Odell Beckham Jr’s momentum-sapping knee injury with Cooper Kupp named the MVP after 92 receiving yards.
LA triumphed 23-20 over the Bengals at the £4billion SoFi Stadium in California thanks largely to their defensive effort as they set a new Super Bowl record, sacking Cincinnati QB Burrow eight times, breaking the record previously held by Dallas Cowboys icon Roger Staubach.
The Rams had initially looked troubled without Beckham Jr on the field but one fourth-quarter drive, led by QB Matthew Stafford and wide receiver and 2021 Offensive Player of the Year Kupp, was enough for glory.
Beckham Jr’s worrying-looking knee injury – which came without any contact – had disrupted the momentum of the hometown Rams’ offense. But they rallied in the fourth to ensure that Tyler Boyd’s drop, his first of the season, proved costly for Cincinnati.
In the absence of Beckham Jr, who could only watch on from the sidelines, Kupp caught Stafford’s pass with just 1:25 left on the clock.
Stafford went into the final quarter with 44 game-winning drives – the eighth-most in NFL history – and was looking to tie with Brett Favre on 45.
And his telepathic link-up with Kupp, which took them past the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, was again the difference.
The Rams’ NFL championship triumph completes a remarkable turnaround for the franchise, who are now the fourth-most valuable team in the league at around £3.5billion. That comes after being bought for around £550m by Stan Kroenke back in 2010, when they were based in St Louis, Missouri.
Their second NFL championship comes three years after they lost the 2019 Super Bowl 13-3 to Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in Georgia.
But it was far from simple, and they had to endure the setback of losing Beckham Jr to a scary knee injury in the first half.
Having managed 232 yards from 17 catches, without managing a touchdown, in the regular season with the Cleveland Browns, OBJ’s touchdown took him to 20 catches, 253 yards and two touchdowns in the postseason alone.
That score, with 6:22 left on the clock in the first quarter, meant the Rams had already tallied more points than their Super Bowl loss to the Pats.
The Rams improved to 13-3 when Stafford found MVP Kupp for his first of two TDs in the second quarter, although they couldn’t convert the extra two points.
Running back Joe Mixon helped reduce the deficit to three points before half-time courtesy of a trick play as he found Tee Higgins for the Bengals’ first touchdown of the game.
With just 3:54 left of the first half, Beckham Jr’s Super Bowl was then ended early. He went down clutching his left knee in pain in a worrying non-contact incident, and did not return to the field.
Coming out of the interval 13-10 down, the Bengals matched the entertainment of a star-studded half-time show in a breathtaking first minute of the second half.
They needed just 12 seconds for Joe Burrow to find Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown with the wide receiver getting away with a possible face mask grab on Jalen Ramsey.
And on their very first offensive play of the second half, Stafford was picked off by Chidobe Awuzie to give the Bengals the ball straight back.
An Evan McPherson field goal temporarily stretched the underdogs’ lead to seven before a Matt Gay field goal made it 16-20 with a little less than half of the third quarter remaining.
Six second-half sacks for the Rams meant the Bengals were far from comfortable but there was discomfort for the Rams too, with Stafford suffering an ankle problem after being sacked and receiving medical attention.
Burrow himself was down in pain in the fourth quarter but returned to his feet despite initially limping off the field. But even with their QB back on the field, Cincinnati could not drive through the Rams.
Boyd’s rare drop, despite being in space, forced a punt to give the ball back to LA with 6:13 still to play. And the Rams made the Bengals pay through Stafford and Kupp.
Cincinnati sought a late response but Burrow was hauled down by Aaron Donald at fourth-and-one with 43 seconds remaining.
That means the team who has won the coin toss has now lost the last eight Super Bowls, the last winner being the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.