Big game champs: Rams beat Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl 2022

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Cooper Kupp caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford with 1:25 remaining and the Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 to win the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

Kupp had four receptions for 39 yards on that drive, including the last three. He also had a key 7-yard run off right end on fourth-and-1 from the LA 30-yard line.

Stafford completed 7 of 11 for 57 yards on the 15-play, 79-yard series.

Previous updates from SoFi Stadium:

SACKS

The Cincinnati Bengals are minutes away from the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

That is if the Bengals can keep Joe Burrow upright.

The Bengals lead the Los Angeles Rams 20-16 through three quarters, despite Burrow getting sacked five times in the third alone. It was the first time since at least 2000 that a quarterback has been sacked at least five times in a quarter in the playoffs.

Burrow now has been sacked six times in this game. It’s the fifth time in Burrow’s short career and third time this season he has been sacked at least six times.

The No. 1 pick overall of the 2020 draft now has been sacked a record 18 times this postseason, and he has been sacked 69 times all season.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) falls after being sacked by Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Ernest Jones (50) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
HALFTIME

The Los Angeles Rams lead the Cincinnati Bengals 13-10 at halftime of this year’s Super Bowl.

Matthew Stafford has thrown for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He may be without one of his top targets in the second half with Odell Beckham Jr. questionable to return after hurting his left leg with 3:50 left in the second quarter. That’s the same knee Beckham tore his ACL in during the 2020 season. The wide receiver went to the locker room, and he has two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Cooper Kupp has three catches for 40 yards and the Rams’ other TD.

Joe Burrow has thrown for 114 yards for Cincinnati. Running back Joe Mixon threw for the Bengals’ lone TD on a pass to Tee Higgins.

Cincinnati cornerback Mike Hilton got the game’s first turnover, working his way in front of Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson in the end zone. Stafford rolled out left on third-and-14 and threw deep from around midfield. Officials flagged Cincinnati for unsportsmanlike conduct, not for taunting but for a player wearing a hoodie not in uniform who ran into the end zone to celebrate. That forced Cincinnati to start at its own 10 with two minutes left in the half.

Stafford tied for the most interceptions in the regular season with 17. He now has two in the postseason. The only quarterback to have the most interceptions in the regular season and win a Super Bowl was Eli Manning in the 2007 season with the Giants.

INJURY

Los Angeles Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered an injury to his left leg on a noncontact play with 3:50 remaining in the second quarter.

Beckham was running toward the right side of the field on a crossing route, but it appeared as though his foot got caught in the turf. He dropped a pass thrown by Matthew Stafford and clutched his leg as he fell to the turf.

Beckham was looked at by trainers on the field before being helped off. He was looked at briefly in the medical tent on the Rams’ sideline before heading to the locker room.

Beckham, who was signed by the Rams after being released by Cleveland at midseason, had two receptions for 52 yards. He scored Los Angeles’ first touchdown when he beat Mike Hilton in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard score.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) lies injured against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
first score

The Los Angeles Rams have the first score of the Super Bowl.

Matthew Stafford capped the Rams’ second drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. with 6:22 left in the first quarter. Beckham caught the ball over Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton, then the wide receiver celebrated his TD with a quick moonwalk. Beckham signed with Los Angeles on Nov. 11 after being cut by the Cleveland Browns.

Stafford is 4 of 4 for 47 yards and a 155.2 passer rating to start the game.

The Rams only had to go 50 yards in six plays over 3 minutes, 35 seconds because the defense forced the Bengals to turn the ball over on downs to end Cincinnati’s opening possession.

coin toss

The Bengals have won the coin toss and have deferred to put the Rams on offense to start Super Bowl 56.

It just may not be the omen Bengals’ fans want.

The last seven coin-toss winners wound up losing the Super Bowl. The last team to win the coin toss and the Super Bowl? Seattle beat Denver in 2014.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford called tails with Los Angeles technically the visiting team. The coin tossed by Billie Jean King came up heads.

King was on hand for the coin toss as the NFL recognized the 50-year anniversary of Title IX enacted in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments providing equal funding for men and women for the first time at high schools, colleges and universities receiving federal funding.

She was joined by the team captains for the California School for the Deaf Riverside Cubs, members of the high school girls flag league of champions and girls youth tackle football players from the Inglewood Chargers and Watts Rams.

King tweeted out video of her practicing the coin toss before kickoff. King wrote “Pressure is a privilege” and she noted the tip to bend her knees actually helped a lot.

TICKET PRICES

Getting into this Super Bowl at the last minute will mean a big hit to the wallet.

StubHub says the get-in price Sunday was $3,800, a jump of 10% from Saturday, but the average price for tickets sold was $6,136. That’s a dip of 8% from Saturday.

The site still had more than 1,400 tickets available Sunday morning.

Fans from California have bought nearly 40% more tickets over the last 24 hours and also nearly 35% of new tickets sold in that span.

The Cincinnati faithful have been busy, with buyers from Ohio accounting for 8% of sales.

BENGALS THE HOME TEAM?

The Cincinnati Bengals are the home team Sunday in the Super Bowl — technically. The home-field advantage all belongs to the Los Angeles Rams.

The “home team” in the Super Bowl is determined on a rotational basis. The NFC team is the home team in odd-numbered Super Bowls, meaning the AFC is the home team in even-numbered Super Bowls such as this one.

Despite that technicality, the NFC champion Rams (15-5) are dressing and working out of their usual locker room after spending the night before the big game in their usual hotel. The Rams’ logo is plastered all around and inside SoFi Stadium, even with the banners making it clear this is the Super Bowl.

Yes, the Bengals (13-7) are represented inside the stadium with their name and “Who Dey!” mantra opposite the Rams.

This is the second straight Super Bowl where the home team has gotten to play on its own field after Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the championship a year ago in Raymond James Stadium. Before that, the NFL went 54 years without a team playing a Super Bowl in its home stadium.

SUPER BONUS

When the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals face off at the 2022 Super Bowl Sunday, only one team will leave with the Lombardi Trophy. But even the losers — and even some players who never play a single second of game time — will leave a big chunk of extra cash.

That’s because of a provision in the NFL’s bargaining agreement with the Players Association. The agreement stipulates players on the winning team earn an extra $150,000 for playing in the Super Bowl, while players on the losing team earn half that amount: $75,000.

That may not be a lot of money for the teams’ stars on multi-million dollar contracts, but just that one check easily tops the median U.S. household income, which was $67,521 in 2020.

WARMUP

Kickoff at Super Bowl 56 is less than an hour away with both teams warming up on the field at SoFi Stadium.

Joe Burrow is leading the Cincinnati Bengals with Matthew Stafford all decked out in the Rams’ modern throwback white jerseys. This is the first Super Bowl berth for each.

Burrow is the fastest to go from No. 1 overall pick to starting in this game.

Stafford had never won a playoff game before this postseason after the Rams traded for him. Stafford comes in with 49,995 yards passing and 323 TD passes. That’s the most ever for a quarterback making his first Super Bowl appearance. Stafford needs only 209 yards passing to become the sixth player to reach 6,000 in a single season.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) warms up before the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
FANS PACK SOFI

The “Who Dey!” fans are making themselves known inside SoFi Stadium.

The concourses are packed with people with Bengals jerseys and they are outnumbering Rams jerseys by almost a 4-to-1 margin. The most popular jersey is that of Joe Burrow’s No. 9.

The Bengals faithful aren’t waiting for kickoff, either. They’re walking around breaking into chants of “Who Dey!” inside the house of their opponent.

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fans in the stands take photos before Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
RECORD HEAT?

It’s hot at SoFi Stadium for Super Bowl 56. Just not the hottest ever for this game.

The temperature is 82 ahead of kickoff between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals after having cooled off from 85 a couple of hours before kickoff. California has been dealing with a heatwave over the past week with temperatures reaching into the low 90s in the region.

That’s short of the record of 84 set on Jan. 14, 1973, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Football fans fill the NFL Tik Tok Tailgate area before Super Bowl LVI between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports
MASK REQUIREMENTs

Signs all around SoFi Stadium remind people to wear masks, though many people inside for Super Bowl 56 are walking around without masks even when not eating or drinking. President Joe Biden says he thinks people should be careful — if not for themselves, then for their children and families.

Biden was asked about people going maskless at the Super Bowl by Lester Holt in an interview shown during NBC’s pregame show. The president said he loves how people talk about personal freedom. Biden said he doesn’t consider people not wearing masks as practicing freedom. He says they put their own health and others in jeopardy.

He also encouraged people to get vaccinated and to use the tools to help prevent death and serious illness.

California will be easing mask requirements Tuesday, two days after the Super Bowl.

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