MMR: The Los Angeles Rams Are Super Bowl LVI Champions

by Blaine Grisak
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The Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl LVI Champions. It’s hard to believe that I’m typing that on what is now two days after Super Bowl Sunday. This Rams team was special and they’ll forever go down in the franchise’s history as one of the best. After taking yesterday to recover and to think what I would write about, I’m still just at a loss for words.

However, I think there’s only one thing that can be talked about and it’s what made this Rams team special. It’s their resilience. Time and time again, the Rams had to fight back and fight against the noise. All season, they were led  by a quarterback who could’t win in the playoffs. This was a team that was underachieving in the middle of the season despite being led by stars.

The Los Angeles Rams showed flashes of what they would be in the first half of the season. During the second half though, they took on a new identity and rose to the occasion when their backs were against the wall.

After losing three straight, the media and even some fans wrote them off. Championship teams don’t lose 31-10 to an average 49ers team at the time. Matthew Stafford threw a pick-6 at Green Bay. There’s no way that team could win when it matters.

The Los Angeles Rams were resilient and it led to a NFC West title. They were resilient and it led to one of the best plays in Rams postseason history when Stafford found Cooper Kupp with 35 seconds left to set up a game-winning field goal against the Buccaneers. The Rams were resilient against the 49ers to come back from 10-points down in the fourth quarter to beat a team they hadn’t beaten in three years.

Resilience. That’s how you sum up this Rams team. And they needed that resilience on Sunday against the Bengals.

For me, the game was mostly a blur. I was extremely anxious leading up to it and then when Matthew Stafford hit Odell Beckham Jr. in the back of the end zone it just felt like this team was different. It was only the first touchdown, but after not finding the end zone for the entire game in 2018, going up, 7-0, was a good sign.

However, for the final quarter and for the final drive, I was locked in.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have some doubts. I likely had more doubts against the Bengals than I had two weeks prior against the 49ers. The Rams offense hadn’t done much of anything in the second half. In fact, the offense went three and out on their previous three possessions.

Matthew Stafford had been the best fourth quarter quarterback this season. I knew it was possible. However, nothing leading up to that point said that it was likely.

Stafford hit Brycen Hopkins for nine yards and then a pass fell incomplete to Ben Skowronek. Cam Akers came up short on third and one to set up the most important play of the game. Sean McVay didn’t have to go for it. There was 5:40 left on the clock and he still had all three timeouts. Yet, with the game on the line, at his own 30-yard line, McVay went for it.

If the Los Angeles Rams missed, it was likely game over. The Rams ranked 29th in the NFL in short yardage situations this season. However, McVay put the ball in the hands of his best player and he made a play. Kupp found a crease on a jet sweep and got seven yards.

From there, the offense was confident. Second-and-10 from the 37 yard line – Stafford to Kupp for seven yards. Second-and-seven from the 46 yard line – Stafford to Kupp for 22 yards. First-and-10 from the 24 yard line – Stafford to Kupp for eight yards. First-and-goal from the four yard line – Stafford to Kupp…touchdown.

The Rams took a 23-20 lead and then left it up to their best player to ice the game. With the Bengals driving at midfield, Aaron Donald wrapped up Samaje Perine with one arm and set up fourth down. With the game on the line, Donald pushed the right guard into Joe Burrow and “Joe Cool” was brought down much like Jimmy G was two weeks prior. Burrow got the ball off, but it fell incomplete. The Rams are Super Bowl Champions.

For the final 25-minutes of the game, the Los Angeles Rams defense didn’t give up a scoring drive. After three consecutive three-and-outs, the offense found some rhythm trailing 20-16 and went on a 15-play drive to score the game-winning touchdown.

That’s resilience and playing your best when it matters most. That’s the story of the 2021 Los Angeles Rams.

Los Angeles Rams Three Word Game Review: Super Bowl Champs

Does anything else really need to be said? The Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl effing Champions. They did it. They reached the pinnacle of the NFL. All week, the discussion was how the Bengals were set up to be the next great dynasty. Joe Burrow was the next Joe Namath, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady.

Instead, it was Matthew Stafford who led his team back with the game on the line in the final moments. The media is now starting to cause a stir in Aaron Donald and Sean McVay retirement talks. Let’s just enjoy this moment because Los Angeles, we deserve it!

The Turning Point: Cooper Kupp’s 4th Down

There were a lot of turning points in this game. Aaron Donald got a huge sack on 3rd-and-3 that held the Bengals to a Field Goal instead of a touchdown to go up 24-13. The game-winning touchdown pass to Kupp is also up there. However, the turning point was the fourth down conversion.

The Los Angeles Rams had gone three-and-out on three consecutive drives. That was their first first down since the field goal drive in the third quarter. That first down gave the Rams some momentum and got the final drive moving.

Los Angeles Rams Game Ball: Matthew Stafford

I could give out a few game balls. Cooper Kupp won MVP and he absolutely deserved it. Aaron Donald had two sacks and the play that clinched the win for the Rams. However, with everything that Matthew Stafford has gone through this season, he came out and did what he was supposed to do.

The Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford to hit Kupp down the seam in the divisional round. They traded for Stafford to bring them back down 10 in the NFC Championship. McVay wanted Stafford to lead them down the field in the closing moments of the Super Bowl. He did all of things and he’ll go down in Rams history for it.

Looking Ahead

Well, we’re at the end of the NFL season. The only thing to look ahead to now is the NFL offseason which we’ll get to eventually. However, for the time being, enjoy this Rams fans. Enjoy the Super Bowl. There will be plenty of time for the NFL Draft and free agency. Soak this in because these championships don’t come easy.

 

 

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