When the trade was announced after the 2021 season that the Los Angeles Rams had acquired QB Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions, I knew it meant that they were serious about getting to the Super Bowl. After their last appearance they gave their quarterback at the time Jared Goff an extension that raised some eyebrows, but they felt they had a capable quarterback to get them back to the big game. That didn’t happen and the Rams brass decided to make a move.
Along the way this season it was looking promising. Stafford was instantly developing a rapport with WRs Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The running game was consistent as the Rams offense is predicated on play-action, which is something Stafford never really had in Detroit. This team had one mission in mind. Win it all in the end.
There were problems as the defense began to sputter and Robert Woods went down with a season ending knee injury. The Rams acquired LB Von Miller before the trade deadline to shore up the pass rush that was vital on their Super Bowl run. They signed WR Odell Beckham Jr. to play opposite Cooper Kupp. It didn’t gel immediately, but the Rams clinched the NFC West and were in the playoffs.
The Cincinnati Bengals presented the Rams with a different challenge in that they had three receivers who could make plays on any given down. While LA is used to establishing their rushing attack early and often, they were stymied for only 43 total rushing yards and a 1.9 yards per carry average. Stafford didn’t play a perfect game as he threw 2 interceptions, but he never faltered when it mattered which was the game winning drive in the 4th quarter.
Von Miller’s presence was felt in the second half when the Rams defense adjusted to running stunts along the defensive line, which freed a rusher or two to get after Bengals QB Joe Burrow. He ended up being sacked 7 times and the majority of them came in the second half. DT Aaron Donald did what we all expected him to do when those adjustments were made. Making the final pressure on Burrow to seal the victory.
Cooper Kupp solidified his place as among the best receivers in the game today being the Super Bowl MVP. Cincinnati did a good job of slowing him down in the first 3 quarters, but they couldn’t stop him on the final drive where he ultimately caught the game winning score.
The Bengals shouldn’t be disappointed in knowing that they were in this game all the way to the end. The only question I have is why RB Joe Mixon wasn’t the rusher on that last 3rd down call as they were driving into Rams territory for a potential game-tying field goal?
It was a good game. Ultimately that’s all I can ask for. Both teams had their opportunities. Yes, the referees had a say or didn’t depending on your perspective, but this game didn’t leave me with ‘what if’ type of feeling. It came down to pressure as it always does and the Rams won that affair to hoist another Lombardi trophy.
Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams on winning their second Super Bowl title in franchise history.