NFL Super Bowl LVI Recap
Rams Are Champs As Curtain Falls on 2021 NFL Season
The Monday after the Super Bowl is always a bittersweet time for football fans. You aren't entirely sure how to live on with your lives up until next fall when the 2022 football season kicks off. However, today is the perfect time to reflect on a great NFL season capped off with the Los Angeles Rams beating the Cincinnati Bengals to win their first Super Bowl since 1999.
Thanks primarily to a dominant second-half performance by the Rams' defense, Matthew Stafford led a game-winning drive in the final minutes as he and Cooper Kupp could not be stopped. There's a lot to break down from this exciting game, so let's get right into it.
The game started out promising for the Rams after punting on their first drive, but after Cincinnati turned it over on downs on their first drive, the Rams got the ball back with excellent field position.
As you might've guessed, the Rams capitalized on the starting field position with Odell Beckham Jr. hauling in a 17-yard strike from Stafford to make it 7-0.
Beckham was poised for a big game, as he was heavily targeted for most of the first half. However, his night was cut short, thanks to a devasting knee injury in the second quarter.
Following the score, Burrow connected with Chase on a deep ball to put the Bengals in Position for an Evan McPherson field goal to make it 7-3 after one.
The Second Quarter:
The second quarter saw Stafford pick up right where he left off, as he led the Rams on yet another scoring drive, connecting with his number one guy, Cooper Kupp (more from him later), for 11 yards; however, a botched hold on the ensuing PAT kept the lead at 13-3.
Needing a score before halftime, Joe Burrow brought the Bengals into scoring range when they decided to get a little tricky with it!
Following the Mixon pass, the last exiting play of the half came from Bengals' safety Jessie Bates, who picked Stafford off deep in their territory. Thus, the score after one half: Rams: 13, Bengals: 10. Oh, and I have to mention Vernon Hargreaves for committing the dumbest penalty ever.
The Third Quarter:
Before we get started with the second half, I have to talk briefly about the halftime show, which was electric. Just ask Evan McPherson, who didn't even join his team in the locker room and just enjoyed the show from the sideline.
I couldn't help but notice how jacked 50 Cent was during that show; they had to have been feeding him well before the show.
Anyway, the second half saw the Bengals waste no time getting started with the half's second play, resulting in a 75-yard pass from Burrow to Tee Higgins to put the Bengals up 17-13.
Thanks to a McPherson field goal, the Bengals increased their lead to seven after a Stafford INT on the next play. The score after three: Bengals: 20, Rams: 16.
The Fourth Quarter:
It seemed as if LA would roll out to an easy victory early in the game, but that all changed once OBJ left. The second half saw LA failing to get anything going on the ground game, leading to a stretch of three punts in a row.
That left most of the work up to Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and the Rams' defense. Long story short, they didn't disappoint, as they kept the Bengals from doing anything with the ball in the second half.
With the Rams trailing by four, the stars came out to play as Cooper Kupp converted a critical fourth and one to keep the drive alive.
They followed that up with a no-look pass from Stafford to Kupp to bring them even closer to scoring.
A few plays later, the two connected once more as the Rams found themselves up 23-20 with over a minute left in the game.
With Kupp doing his thing on offense, it was up to Donald to do what he does best on defense. After stopping the Bengals on third and one, Donald got to Burrow on fourth down, sealing the victory for the Los Angeles Rams.
The victory marks the Rams' second Super Bowl and first one in LA. Also, with the win, head coach Sean McVay is now the youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl.
Super Bowl MVP: Cooper Kupp + Stafford Finally Gets His Ring
While I think Donald should've won the MVP, Kupp ultimately took home the honors. Kupp finished the day with 92 yards and two TDs. Still, more importantly, his performance throughout the 2021 season might become known as the most remarkable single-season for a wide receiver, and it culminated with a Super Bowl MVP.
I can't talk about Kupp without talking about Mattew Stafford, who finished 26 of 40, 283 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. Before arriving in LA this season, he had spent 11 long years with Detroit without a playoff win. Now, he can finally call himself a Super Bowl Champion. Not to mention, that game last night may have solidified himself as a member of the Hall of Fame one day.
Oh, and OBJ got himself a ring, as well, as the wide receiver was extremely emotional following the game.
Was This Aaron Donald's Last Game?
News broke before the game that Aaron Donald would potentially step away from the game if the Rams won the Super Bowl. Well, the Rams won the Super Bowl, and Aaron Donald is now mulling his future. If he were to retire, there's no doubt in my mind that he will go down as one of the greatest defensive players of all time. Rookie of the year, eight-time Pro-Bowler, three-time DPOY, and now a Super Bowl champion; if Donald were to retire now, what a way to go out!
Special Day for Van Jefferson
One player on the Rams who had a great night was wide receiver Van Jefferson, who left the stadium and skipped the celebration to meet his wife in the hospital to see his first-born child. Jefferson's wife left the game on a stretcher in the middle of the game. Jefferson chose to stay at the game but was immediately rushed to the hospital after the game.
This Isn't the Last Time we See the Bengals in this Position.
Even though the Bengals lost, Cincy fans should not be that upset with the loss. Yes, it sucks to make it that far and fail to get the job done, but no one expected this team to make it this far. Burrow did as much as he could, but failure to get the run game going ended as the dagger. Burrow finished 22 of 33 with 263 yards and one TD but was sacked seven times. In the offseason, the Bengals' principal task will likely revolve around improving an offensive line that gave up a league-high 51 sacks, including 12 sacks in the postseason.
Despite all that, I think you can count on seeing Joe "Sheisty" and the Bengals in a similar position for many years to come.
The End of An Era: Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth
As long as I've been a football fan, I've grown up with Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth broadcasting games on Sunday Night Football. Now, after a career that spans back three decades, Al Michaels is expected to call it a career. Michaels had been with NBC since 2006, announcing games with John Madden until 2008 when Madden retired. From then on, he and Collingsworth called games and quickly became America's favorite broadcast duo. For nearly 15 years, these two guys have graced America with their presence, from Michaels' wittiness to the pat and pended "Collingsworth Slide." Football won't be the same without Al Michaels. Now I've got one more question: Do you believe in Miracles?
2021 is in the Books:
Click play on this tweet. Incredible.
The 2021 NFL Season was undoubtedly filled with plenty of pulse-pounding moments. From shocking upsets, dreadful ties, and amazing kicks, the 2021 seasons didn't disappoint. As the season went on, we started to get more of an idea of who would win the Super Bowl. The Rams were the rightful winners and have earned the right to call themselves "World Champions." Congrats to Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, Sean McVay, and the Los Angeles Rams. They banked on this year being the year, and it paid off!
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Jake Klausner covers all things sports for ThePyrrhic.com. Keep your eyes peeled for NFL Analysis, World Series Recaps, and more from Jake.
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