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Super Bowl LVI Recap

Super Bowl LVI was nothing short of sports entertainment at its finest. Leading up to America’s most-watched sporting event every year, football fans across the country were keen for this matchup because of the storylines behind the two contenders. Going into the 2021 NFL season, many picked the Cincinnati Bengals to finish towards the bottom of the entire league. In the 2020 season, the Bengals finished third to last with a substandard record of 4-11-1. However, despite all odds and to the amazement of almost all fans, the Bengals finished with a solid record of 10-7 and blew through the AFC Playoffs on their way to a Super Bowl berth. Many referred to this Bengals squad as “America’s team” as they were the clear underdogs. 

The Los Angeles Rams came into Super Bowl LVI with one of the league’s best records, sitting at 12-5. Coming into 2021, many had the Rams as their NFC Champion pick, and some even had them as their Super Bowl Champion. Furthermore, the on-paper overall talent difference between these two teams was staggering. The Cincinnati Bengals boasted a powerful offense led by the electrifying trio of quarterback Joe Burrow, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and running back Joe Mixon. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Rams have arguably three of the best defensive players in the NFL: Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Von Miller. Their offense was just as powerful, as well: with veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford finally escaping Detroit and searching for his first Super Bowl appearance in his entire career, and Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s offensive player of the year after a truly historic season at wide receiver. With all of this hype surrounding the stories and the mere talent of the two teams leading up to America’s game, Super Bowl Sunday finally arrived. 

The Rams started the game with the ball, and both teams exchanged scoreless drives. After a risky attempt on a fourth and one at the Rams’ 49-yard line, the Rams defense stepped up and got a big stop with great field position. Fast forward to six minutes and change left in the first quarter when Stafford lofted a spiral into Beckham Jr.’s hands, giving them a 7-0 lead. After a 46-yard deep ball from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase to put the Bengals at the Rams’ 11-yard line, Cincinnati simply stalled out. To end the first quarter, Bengals kicker Evan McPherson kicked a 29-yard field goal through the uprights to make the score 7-3. With no time wasted, around two minutes into the second quarter, the Rams answered back with another touchdown pass, this time to the league’s MVP, Cooper Kupp. The Bengals, however, did not shy away. With about five minutes left in the first half of Super Bowl LVI, Joe Mixon unexpectedly lofted a six-yard touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Tee Higgins. With the unconventional play call leading to Cincinnati’s second touchdown of the game, people admired the creativity of the Bengals. 

After the halftime show, which featured some of the past two decade’s most popular artists, the Bengals received the second-half kickoff. On the first play of the drive, Burrow launched a 75-yard touchdown pass to Higgins. Following the exhilarating start to the second half, the rest of the game leading up to its final few minutes was uneventful, with Cincinnati and Los Angeles exchanging field goals. With one minute and twenty-four seconds left on the clock, Matt Stafford threw his third touchdown pass of the game to Cooper Kupp to take a 23-20 lead. After a last-minute effort to lead the Bengals down the field, Joe Burrow failed, and the Los Angeles Rams earned their first Vince Lombardi Trophy in decades. With Cooper Kupp’s astounding performance, he was awarded the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. 

In hindsight, Super Bowl LVI most certainly lived up to its hype and is sure to be remembered for years to come.

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