As expected, Super Bowl LVI was entertaining from the moment it began to the very final seconds. The Los Angeles Rams faced off against the Cincinnati Bengals, and both teams looked like they belonged on the big stage.
On one side, the Rams had acquired multiple bigtime names over the past year (i.e. Matthew Stafford, Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr., etc.) which made them instant contenders. Cincinnati, on the other hand, had drafted both Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase over the past couple of years, and built their team around those two players.
The game went back and forth throughout its entirety, with the Rams coming away with a 23-20 victory in the final seconds. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that played into the final score.
Matthew Stafford’s Gritty, Yet Clutch Performance
Matthew Stafford has been through a lot in his career. After surviving twelve miserable seasons in Detroit, the QB joined Los Angeles this season, and instantly led them to the Super Bowl.
In his first career SB start, Stafford put on a show, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. His first score went to Odell Beckham, as he perfectly lofted the ball into the receiver’s hands, sending the stadium into a frenzy.
As the game came down to the wire, the veteran gunslinger made critical throw after critical throw. One of the most impressive passes of the day came on this no-look throw to Cooper Kupp on the game winning drive:
Matthew Stafford really threw a no-look pass on the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl.
Cooper Kupp: “That was probably the best no-looker of his life. I saw the lane and he fit it right in there.”
Ultimately, Stafford did what he had to do to bring Los Angeles a Super Bowl trophy. With everything that the quarterback has dealt with during his professional tenure, it is fantastic to see his hard work pay off in a big way. With Matt at the helm for the foreseeable future, the Rams are in an excellent position to collect some more rings.
Cooper Kupp – Super Bowl MVP
Cooper Kupp hands down has had the best season as a wide receiver in the history of the NFL. The formerly undrafted player put the entire country on notice this year, and once again delivered on the world’s biggest stage.
Cooper Kupp's full season (21 games):
* 178 catches, 2,425 yards, 22 TD * NFL regular season receiving triple crown * Unanimous All-Pro * Most catches in a single postseason (33) * NFL Offensive Player of the Year * Super Bowl MVP
His playmaking abilities were crucial throughout the night, scoring two touchdowns and making the plays that mattered down the stretch. For example, he converted on a 4th and 1 during the game winning drive, before hauling in the go-ahead touchdown which put LA on top for good.
Due to his outstanding performance, Kupp was named Super Bowl MVP. It’s hard for anyone to be upset about it, considering how much effort culminated into this moment. Without a doubt, Kupp deserved the honor, and his year will go down as one of the greatest seasons of all time.
Cincinnati’s offensive line had quite the task on their hands, trying to subdue the beast of Aaron Donald. While they were successful for most of the night, things went Donald’s way on Cincinnati’s final offensive possession.
As Joe Burrow went to pass on 4th and 1, Donald ripped right through and threw Burrow to the ground, forcing an incomplete pass attempt – and sealing Los Angeles’ victory.
For Donald, this was a monumental moment. The superstar defensive lineman had accomplished just about everything throughout his career – except winning a Super Bowl. He was a part of the 2018 Rams team that fell short against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and was hoping to get one more shot at an NFL title.
Now, Donald can finally say that he is a Super Bowl champ. While his future with football is in question, Aaron can simply relax for now. The job is done, and the trophy is coming home – along with a ring with his name on it.
Aaron Donald in just 8 seasons:
⭐ 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙚𝙧 𝘽𝙤𝙬𝙡 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙢𝙥 ⭐ 3× DPOY ⭐ 2010s All-Decade Team ⭐ 7× First-team All-Pro ⭐ 8× Pro Bowler ⭐ ROTY (2014) ⭐ Only 2 games missed — both not injury related.
The Cincinnati Bengals should not be discouraged, despite falling just short in the Super Bowl this year. The young team proved everyone wrong time and time again this season, and their future is as bright as ever. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are budding stars, while the role players such as Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins serve as important supporting cast members.
Ultimately, Los Angeles proved to be the stronger team this season. That being said, Cincinnati will be a dangerous AFC threat for years to come, and we should expect nothing but the best from both squads moving forward.
Did you enjoy watching this year’s super bowl? Do you think Cincinnati was a one year wonder, or can they sustain this success? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!