Patience is a virtue – sometimes you have to wait half an hour for a makeup interview. And yet I don’t think the Rams are complaining after beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, at their home stadium, to win their first Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
After opening the second half with one of the worst no-calls in Super Bowl history and a five-minute, 10-point swing, the momentum of the game looked like it was changing the direction of the Bengals. Odell Beckham Jr. was out, Matt Stafford played scared and it looked like the Rams let the game slip out of their hands at their home stadium.
And then – the last ride. How do you pick a game of the game from those last minutes? Is it the defensive makeup call for Tee Higgins’ blatant, uncalled-for facemask on Jalen Ramsey (or is it the facemask itself)? Is it Cooper? Kupp’s jet sweep on 4th-and-1? Kupp’s winning catch to finish a 15-play 4:48 drive that gave the Bengals less than 90 seconds to try and come up with a game-winning drive?
It’s hard to pick a single moment from the drive to label as today’s game of play, but Stafford and Kupp’s ability to get to the field and make the plays when it mattered most after being held back on a field goal in the second half of the game – perhaps with the help of the refs at a very important moment – was the turning point in tonight’s thriller.
Obviously we can’t overlook Aaron Donald’s explosive internal pass rush, ending in a sack that ended the game despite a last second desperation throw from Joe Burrow landing near a receiver – Donald’s whole performance today was just unbelievable . But Kupp, whose unlikely journey to get here is well documented throughout the postseason, will take home the MVP trophy after his 8 catch, 92-yard, two-touchdown game, and step up after the WR2 OBJ retired with a knee injury towards the end of the first half.
Kupp, a 28-year-old receiver who was a third-round draft pick-out from Eastern Washingtonn, capped off a remarkable year in which he won the host T . conqueredripple Crown – the league leader in receptions, yardage and touchdowns – with the Super Bowl MVP. Only Jerry Rice in 1989 had accomplished that feat.
“I just have no words for it,” said Kupp when he was presented with the MVP trophy. “I’m just so thankful for everyone.”
Joe Burrow and Stafford also feared injury, but neither missed out a breeze. Cincinnati’s offensive line struggled all game (not a huge shock there) allowing seven sacks on Burrow, including two by Von Miller and Donald. On the other hand, L.A.‘s run game looked terrible — they averaged less than 2 yards per attempt, and the Rams entered the fourth quarter with two sales behind (and an unfortunate PAT drop). But you can’t count Matt Stafford, I guess. and the referees must make amends.