Ah, the Super Bowl. America’s biggest game of the year and possibly the longest-awaited event for Americans and sports fans. Being in the Super Bowl is the biggest achievement any football player can dream of. Players receive recognition, rewards, and most importantly, respect. Winning the Super Bowl is synonymous to most players as winning an Olympic gold medal, as it is unbelievably difficult to achieve such a challenging goal. Here is the Roundup’s recap of Super Bowl 56 (LVI).
The Cincinnati Bengals
The 2021-22 edition of the “Big Game” hosted the Los Angeles Rams (previously the St. Louis Rams) and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams’ last Super Bowl appearance was in 2019 (Super Bowl LIII) against the New England Patriots where they came up short with an outstanding football score of 13-3! The Bengals’ last appearance for a Lombardi Trophy was Super Bowl 23 in 1989 against the San Francisco 49ers where Cincinnati lost 20-16.
This game was an absolute roller coaster of emotions with Matthew Stafford leading LA and Joe Burrow leading Cincinnati. Burrow with his second season in the NFL after being an LSU Tiger; led the “incapable of making the playoffs” Bengals team to a Super Bowl berth as a second-year quarterback, which is absolutely impressive for such a young player. He came up slightly short by a score of 23-20, losing possibly the biggest game of his career. The Bengals have always struggled with a non-existent offensive line with the most sacks allowed in the entire league, but God’s grace keeping Burrow healthy is a solid enough win for the city of Ohio. However, constant pressure was applied to Burrow throughout the game as his line could not put an end to Aaron Donald’s swift and hefty movement to reach his target.
During the first half, the first touchdown for the Bengals was a throw by running back Joe Mixon to Tee Higgins off a curl route, stealing Joe’s thunder as the game approached halftime with a score of 13-10 Bengals off a muffed extra point. “Joe Cool” found his receivers wide open for the trajectory of the game in the second half with the first half being quite the rough scene throwing for only 99 yards passing.
“Joe Shiesty”, after halftime, attempted to flip the switch, gaining effervescence decides to “up the SCO” with the first play of the half answering with an absolute beauty of a toss to Tee Higgins having beat the Rams’ star cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, off a go route for a 75-yard touchdown pass to give Cincy some breathing room to start the second half.
The Los Angeles Rams
Now for the Los Angeles Rams. Where do I even begin? Their team experienced a plethora of ups and downs throughout the course of the game from unexpected injuries to clutch winning touchdowns to seal the deal. Odell Beckham Jr, who, mid-season was released by the Cleveland Browns was the first player to put 6 up on the board at Sofi Stadium. Beckham Jr. suffered an injury to his left knee on a non-contact play with 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and was ruled out early in the third quarter.
Beckham was running to the right of the field on a cross route while being targeted by Matthew Stafford where his left foot somehow got caught in the turf. There is speculation on what the injury is, but most likely it is a torn ACL that can hold players out for a whole off-season and full-season. But he eventually returned to the sideline and watched his teammates pull out the late victory. Thank the Lord.
Alright, here are the positives for Los Angeles. They won the Super Bowl… and have Cooper Kupp. The third-round pick out of Eastern Washington (drafted in 2017) began to do what he has done all season: catching footballs. The offensive player of the year recorded two touchdowns with one being the game-winner to screw the cork on the bottle. Kupp ended up cooking Eli Apple shifting from the slot to the outside where Stafford hit Kupp with an effortless back-shoulder throw where trust is rewarded between the dynamic duo.
Stafford and Kupp’s telepathic liasion has been one of the greatest NFL fans have ever witnessed. Cooper “Clutch” Kupp was the most targeted receiver the whole game with the final drive being a magnet towards him by Kupp receiving every single rep. Cooper Kupp deserves the title of The Lord’s Work for the benefit he has made for the Rams program this season from being a 0-star recruit to Super Bowl MVP.
“Whatever’s asked of me, whatever my job is going to be on a given play, in a given game, I just want to do it to the best of my ability,” Kupp said. “We went a little up-tempo on that last drive, which kept [the Bengals] in some zone calls, and that allowed Matthew and I to kind of find some soft spots in there.”
As for the run game for the Rams; there was complete absence because of how well the receiving core was putting on a show, so Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. were in no aid to physically help the Rams score touchdowns or even first downs.
Aaron Donald, the heart and soul of the Rams defense, recorded two sacks and endless amounts of pressure on the offensive live for his fellow companions to add a total of four more sacks on Burrow. Donald became the saving grace for the Rams team on a 4th and 1 Bengals ball where he punctured the shoulder of the right guard and irresistibly ran towards Burrow to get the sack resulting in Joe throwing an incomplete pass intended for Samaje Perine which would grant the Los Angeles Rams their first Super Bowl title since moving back to the city from St. Louis. Cheers and tears begin to erupt in SoFi Stadium where a deserving and hard-working team and coaching staff earn bling for their ring finger; a milestone that will be cherished forever.
Although there were many controversial calls by the refs during the game, the horrendous identifications and blind sights the refs contributed to both teams went in favor for the Rams to pull off the W.
What McVay and his squad have produced is no flash in the pan. This team proved that they are one of the most consistent and best franchises the NFL has ever seen and will most definitely continue to be just that for years to come.
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