Two actual players that the Los Angeles Rams drafted who were not part of trades propelled the Rams to a Super Bowl championship. Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp.
When the chips were on the line, Kupp helped the Rams close out the game on offense, Donald on defense.
Kupp caught a 1-yard touchdown pass with 1:25 remaining, Donald pressured Joe Burrow on 4th and 1 with 43 seconds remaining to give the Rams a 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
After 13 seasons, quarterback Matthew Stafford gets his first Super Bowl ring; after eight seasons, wide receiver Odell Beckam Jr. earns his first ring.
For the second straight year, the hometown team hugs the Lombardi trophy in front of the hometown fans, with Kupp named MVP.
Kupp had four receptions for 39 yards and a 7-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Rams 30 on the championship drive.
Kupp was offered zero scholarship offers from his last high school football game to now being named Super Bowl MVP. He is currently the eighth wide receiver to win Super Bowl MVP. Kupp won the receiving Triple Crown and offensive player of the year. Jerry Rice is the only other player to capture all those honors in a career.
The Rams (16-5) earned their first NFL title since the 1999 season — and their first representing Los Angeles since 1951.
They did so in their home; the $5 billion SoFi Stadium, making the Rams the second consecutive host to win the championship after Tampa Bay became the first a year ago.
Stafford has had more game-winning drives since entering the NFL in 2009.
As a Rams quarterback, he is now a champion in his first year. Stafford was 0-3 with the Lions in playoffs, 4-0 now with Rams in the playoffs.
Overwhelming Cincinnati’s offensive line, sacking Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow a Super Bowl record-tying seven times.
“I dreamed it so long; we worked so hard for this, to see it come full circle,” Donald said. “Have the opportunity to call myself a world champion; it is football heaven.”
The pressure, led by Von Miller and Donald, was nonstop. Donald, a three-star recruit out of high school, had two of those seven sacks.
Miller tied with Charles Haley with four and a half sacks, most in super bowl history.
The Rams defense had 11 quarterback hits and eight tackles for a loss, along with the seven sacks.
With 3:50 to play in the 2nd quarter, Beckam Jr hurt the same knee he tore in Cleveland in 2020. Rams offense had 84 yards since Beckam Jr’s injury in the 2nd quarter. The Rams could not run the ball with 23 carries for 43 yards in the game.
“People say you couldn’t dream this, but actually, I did dream this,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said. “You don’t do what we do unless you dream of it. Dreaming that we can build a great stadium and winning Super Bowls. I am happy for the players, the coaches, and super happy for Los Angeles.”
The trend of being a champion in Los Angeles has continued for the last 18 months; LeBron James won his first title as a Los Angeles Laker in the bubble in 2020 over the Miami Heat, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 world series over the Tampa Bay Rays, now it is the rams who have taken care of business on their turf against the Cincinnati Bengals.
On 3rd down and one, the Bengals (13-8) handed the ball to Samjie Perine instead of their starting running back and leading rusher Joe Mixon on the final drive to tie or win the game. Donald stopped Perine, with Donald again adding the pressure on fourth down.
Rams head coach Sean McVay becomes youngest head coach to win Super Bowl LVI at 36 years of age, 20 days slightly over Mike Tomlin, who won super bowl XLVIII at 36 years of age, 323 days. McVay made playoffs in 4 of 5 seasons as Rams head coach.
Joe Burrow delivered, finishing 22 of 33 for 263 yards and one touchdown. But he was sacked seven times because his offensive line faced Donald, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year; they were getting beat by now two-time Super Bowl champion in Miller, moreover a defensive front that accumulated 50 sacks throughout the season.
Burrow was sacked 19 times in the playoffs, the most ever.
Bengals are the seventh team to lose Super Bowl despite winning turnover differential.
Bengals combined 4-17 on 3rd and 4th downs.
Bengals failed to score in the 4th quarter for the first time this postseason.
Bengals are now 0-3 in the Super Bowl, remaining one of six active franchises to have never won a league championship Super Bowl, NFL, or AFL championship game.
The game aired on NBC and used 122 cameras. For the first Super Bowl at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1967, NBC had 11 cameras. Millions were witness to the original draft picks impact in the game.