Endurance is a advantage — typically you need to wait a whole half for a make-up name. And but I don’t assume the Rams are complaining after beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20, of their house stadium, to win their first Tremendous Bowl in Los Angeles.
After opening the second half with one of many worst no-calls in Tremendous Bowl historical past and a five-minute,10-point swing, the momentum of the sport appeared prefer it was shifting the Bengals’ means. Odell Beckham Jr. was out, Matt Stafford was taking part in scared, and it appeared just like the Rams have been letting the sport slip out of their palms of their house stadium.
After which — the ultimate drive. Easy methods to decide a play of the sport from these last minutes? Is it the defensive holding make-up name for Tee Higgins’ egregious uncalled facemask on Jalen Ramsey (or is it the facemask itself)? Is it Cooper Kupp’s jet sweep on 4th-and-1? Kupp’s game-winning catch to cap off a 15-play, 4:48 drive that gave the Bengals beneath 90 seconds to try to engineer a game-winning drive?
It’s onerous to decide on a single second from the drive to label because the play of the sport in the present day, however Stafford and Kupp’s skill to get downfield and make the performs when it mattered most after being held to a subject objective within the second half of the sport — arguably with the assistance of the refs at a really vital second — was the turning level in tonight’s thriller.
Clearly, we are able to’t overlook Aaron Donald’s explosive inside move rush, ending in a sack that completed the sport regardless of a last-second desperation throw from Joe Burrow that landed within the neighborhood of a receiver — Donald’s whole efficiency in the present day was simply unimaginable. However Kupp, whose unlikely journey to get right here has been well-documented all through the postseason, will take house the MVP trophy after his 8 catch, 92-yard, two-touchdown sport, stepping up after the WR2 OBJ went out with a knee harm towards the top of the primary half.
Kupp, a 28-year-old receiver who was a third-round draft pick of Japanese Washington, capped a exceptional 12 months during which he captured the receiving Triple Crown — main the league in receptions, yardage and touchdowns — with the Tremendous Bowl MVP. Solely Jerry Rice in 1989 had completed that feat.
“I simply don’t have phrases,” Kupp mentioned when he was handed the MVP trophy. “I’m simply so grateful for everybody.”
Joe Burrow and Stafford additionally had harm scares, however neither missed a snap. Cincinnati’s offensive line struggled (no enormous shock there) all through the sport, permitting seven sacks on Burrow, together with two every by Von Miller and Donald. Alternatively, L.A.’s run sport appeared abysmal — they averaged lower than 2 yards per try, and the Rams went into the fourth quarter with a two-turnover deficit (and an unlucky PAT drop). However you may’t rely out Matt Stafford, I suppose. And the refs’ have to make amends.