The way the NFL schedule works, Super Bowl opponents are always teams that don’t have much regular season history. Still, Bengals-Rams feels particularly unfamiliar as a matchup for a number of reasons.
Both teams have had long histories of irrelevance, meaning it’s rare for them to be good at the same time, plus the Rams’ long run in St. Louis causes a bit more cognitive dissonance about the Bengals and Rams merging.
Overall, the Bengals have an 8-6 advantage in the all-time series, although the Rams won the last meeting – a 24-10 thump in 2019 at Wembley Stadium that was part of Cincinnati’s 0-11 start to that season 2-14 .
That game, in what was the Rams’ worst season under Sean McVay, marked the first time the Bengals had met the Los Angeles Rams since week 16 of the 1993 season, in what was one of the most forgettable games in NFL history. must be. , with both teams already far from the fray, and only a lone, 1-yard rushing touchdown between them.
That game did feature a young Jerome Bettis. But he didn’t score the touchdown.
It was when the Rams were in the Midwest that these teams had their last game when both had won records, but even that wasn’t exactly memorable. In the penultimate game of 2003, St. Louis rolled to a 27-10 home game, moving up to 12-3, while Cincinnati fell to 8-7, heading to 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
The Bengals’ first game against the St. Louis Rams was also…not super memorable. It was Lawrence Phillips’ first game in the NFL, as well as Ki-Jana Carter’s, and it was the opener of the 1996 season… in which neither team was good, as you could see in their meeting in the TWA Dome.
You have to go all the way back to 1990 for the last time the Bengals and Rams went head to head in California, and their matchup was good. Cincinnati got 490 passing yards from Boomer Esiason, but lost a two-touchdown lead in the second half as Jim Everett and Cleveland Gary led the Rams’ comeback.
There were 1,059 yards of total offense in that game, and Jim Breech won it for the Bengals with an overtime field goal.
In 1990, the Rams played in Anaheim. The last Rams-Bengals game to have a Los Angeles dateline was a disturbance on Monday Night Football in 1978, the 12-loss Bengals under interim coach Homer Rice defeated a Rams team that would go to that year’s NFC title game .
Perhaps the Rams could have been a little more aggressive offensively in that game than Frank Corral had kicked 20, 29 and 17 yards field goals.
The other time the Bengals met the Rams on their LA turf was the first meeting between the clubs, resulting in one of nine games in NFL history in which each team recorded a safety.
That first meeting wasn’t quite a harbinger of things to come. Only five of the 14 all-time encounters between the Bengals and Rams have been decided by one score, and only two in the last 40 years.