The Los Angeles Rams snagged their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history with a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl 56. A total team effort on both sides of the ball allowed Sean McVay's squad to pull off the come-from-behind win.
Players like Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald all made the victory possible through their heroic contributions during the game. Now heading to the offseason, the team's utmost focus is to retain their key players and form a roster that is capable of defending their Super Bowl title. But before turning our focus to the offseason, let's take a look at four immediate Rams takeaways from their Super Bowl 56 victory over the Bengals.
4 Rams takeaways from Super Bowl 56 victory
4. Odell Beckham Jr. could have ended his season on a better note
Odell Beckham Jr. was previously on the receiving end of criticism after his falling-out with the Cleveland Browns in the first half of the season. However, he silenced his doubters when he landed in Los Angeles and emerged as a valuable contributor for the Rams.
The three-time Pro Bowler was a key cog in the team's offense, especially during their playoff run. Unfortunately, Beckham suffered a non-contact injury to his knee while trying to make a catch. The situation forced him to leave the game early and be ruled out of the second half.
Nonetheless, the 29-year-old still had a vital contribution in powering the team's strong start in the first two quarters. He ended the day with 52 yards on two catches and the first touchdown of the game for the Rams. It might have been disappointing for Beckham to watch his team battle from the sidelines, but at least they still came out with the victory that allowed the receiver to secure the first ring of his career.
3. Aaron Donald's dominant performance prevented the Bengals from winning
Everyone knew that Aaron Donald would wreak havoc against a weak Bengals offensive line. He didn't disappoint in a virtually unstoppable performance. The three-time DPOY got the better of the Bengals' porous offensive line and led the team with two sacks, three QB hits, and seven pressures. His teammates also fed off his energy as they recorded seven total sacks of Joe Burrow.
Donald's most important play of the game was the game-deciding fourth-and-1 in the final minute. Donald attacked Burrow and spun his body to force him to throw an incompletion, which effectively ended the game and gave the Rams the Super Bowl title. The contributions of the future Hall of Famer played a huge role and easily merited Super Bowl MVP consideration, especially after coming up clutch to save the Rams' title hopes.
2. Cooper Kupp delivered when it mattered most
The injury situation of Odell Beckham Jr. as well as the running game's woes led Matthew Stafford to rely on his No. 1 option in Cooper Kupp with the game on the line. The gunslinger went to his star receiver seven times on the final drive of the game in a bid to move the chains and make it in the end zone.
Kupp ultimately found himself isolated in a one-on-one matchup in the end zone against opposing cornerback Eli Apple and easily secured the game-winning touchdown on a back-shoulder fade. Without a doubt, the 28-year-old nailed the perfect ending to his historic 2021 campaign by coming up with a big-time performance to earn Super Bowl 56 MVP honors.
1. Matthew Stafford solidified his legacy
Prior to his arrival to the Rams, Matthew Stafford was viewed by many as an empty stats quarterback who wasn't a winner. Yes, he was breaking all sorts of franchise records with the Detroit Lions, but that came without winning a single playoff game.
Stafford finally changed the narrative for good on Sunday night. The veteran quarterback shook off a pair of interceptions and was unfazed while engineering the game-winning drive while trailing by four points late in the fourth quarter. He remained cool and collected on the 15-play, 79-yard drive, which ultimately resulted in the game-winner to Cooper Kupp.
When it was all said and done, Stafford generated 283 passing yards on 26-of-40 passing to go with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His performance in Super Bowl 56 justified the team's decision to acquire him in exchange for Jared Goff and a bunch of draft picks prior to the 2021 season. He lived up to the lofty expectations that many had in Los Angeles by throwing for 50 total touchdowns combined in the regular season and playoffs.
This Super Bowl victory will elevate Matthew Stafford's career and cement his legacy in the league when all is said and done.