INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The setting at the sprawling and sparkling SoFi Stadium was a warm welcome for Hollywood stars, social media influencers and sports fans. While fans of the Cincinnati Bengals were in awe of its beauty, you could hear who’s house this was. Rams fans were chanting loudly with Los Angeles rap music playing in the background and they didn’t care.

In the end, the Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 and wide receiver Cooper Kupp took home MVP honors. 

The Rams won the Super Bowl inside the $5 billion SoFi Stadium. Notably, the Rams became the second consecutive home team to win the championship after Tampa Bay became the first to accomplish the feat one year ago.

“As far as building this stadium,” said Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the man who moved them back from St. Louis in 2016, “I think it turned out alright.”

With a mandate from the owner, the Rams had no choice but to deliver the goods.

The first half of the game was dominated by the Rams and the refs held their flags back. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. scored the first touchdown for the Rams. Beckham caught a seventeen-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford.

After catching two passes for 52 yards, Bechkam injured his knee with 3:54 left in the second quarter. Before the injury, the Bengals secondary struggled as the Rams controlled much of the game.

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) pulls in a touchdown pass as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton (21) defends during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

However, the Bengals made plays as their young quarterback, Joe Burrow, would connect with wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase notably caught a 47 pass from Burrow in the first quarter, beating the much-heralded Jalen Ramsey on the play. 

Heading into halftime, the Rams led 13-10.

During the second half, the Bengals came out blazing. On the first play of the second half, Burrow instantly connected with wide receiver Tee Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown strike. Ramsey fell down as Higgins grabbed his face mask. However, Higgins and Ramsey were hand fighting and there was no recourse for the referees. At that moment, the Bengals were poised to control the game. 

On the very next play, Bengals’ cornerback Chidobe Awuzie picked off Stafford’s pass. Eight plays later, Cincinnati kicker Evan McPherson nailed a 38 yard field goal as the Bengals took a 20-13 lead with 10:19 left in the third quarter.

Regretfully for fans clad in orange, black and white, the Bengals did not score again.

The Los Angeles Rams’ defensive line, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, began ratcheting up pressure on Burrow. Donald changed the flow of the game with a sack and a quarterback pressure on Burrow. 

The Rams defense ended the game with seven sacks, setting a Super Bowl record. 

“In the first half, I don’t know we had one sack and came out and I feel like we started taking over the game when we needed to as a defensive front,” Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “Guys started making plays – (linebacker) Von (Miller) was making plays, (linebacker Leonard Floyd) was making plays, (defensive lineman) Greg Gaines, (defensive lineman) A’Shawn Robinson was making plays. Guys on the backend were making plays, (safety Eric) Weddle was coming up and making plays. That’s what it’s about. It’s a team game, it’s a team sport and it’s not just one or two out there. It’s all 11 on the field that at any time was making a big play for us. We found a way to come away with a win and become a world champion and that’s what it’s about.”

The Bengals’ momentum came to a screeching halt as Tyler Boyd dropped a pass on 3rd and 9 with 6:23 remaining in the game. 

Cincinnati was forced to punt the ball away and Stafford took the Rams 79 yards on fifteen plays, capping the game-winning drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp. 

“I don’t feel deserving of this,” Kupp said. “The guys standing here challenged me, they pushed me. I am just so grateful.”

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, top, catches a touchdown against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Notably, the Bengals were 3-of-14 on third down conversions on the night. 

“We wanted to be in attack mode and pressure them as much as possible,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.”

This is the second year of the pandemic and in front of 70,048 fans the Rams pulled out the win over the Bengals in their home stadium. 

Moreover, this was the second championship for the Rams franchise. The last time the Rams won a Super Bowl was in 2000 when their franchise beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

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