These aren’t your grandparents’ Bengals. Tuck away all the historical data.- postseason appearances, lack of playoff wins, and whatever other measurable used to describe parity within an NFL franchise.Inject youthful exuberance and a winning culture. Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Burrow, and the lot know nothing of the Cincinnati team most speak of. They emerge from perennial college powerhouses. Winning is the norm and they are the leaders of the new school. Just making it to the postseason is not enough. They want it all – the Lombardi – but mostly, the respect.
Make no mistake, this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. It took a win over Pat Mahomes in hostile Arrowhead Stadium, but they got it down and walked into Sofi Stadium with swagger on 1000. No shocker that it would be a batter of excellent wide receiver corps on both sides of the field with feel-good stories to boot. Rejuvenated quarterback Matt Stafford and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. both finding their homes in Hollywood after toiling in the doldrums of the NFL while playing with the Lions, Giants, and Browns, respectively. On the other side of the ball, the Comeback Player of the Year in Joe Burrow and the Offensive Rookie of the Year in Ja/Marr Chase. A masterclass in offensive and defensive play scheming – and throw in Offensive Player of the Year in Cooper Kupp who’s been doing whatever he wants this season and we have a game.
The Rams jumped out to the early lead, only to lose leading receiver at the time in Beckham. It appeared the Bengals were coming though to “Rule It All\.” Enter Kupp. With the home team trailing 20-16, the OPOY connected with quarterback Matt Stafford for a 1-yard touchdown with 1:29 remaining to lock in the win. A failed fourth-down conversion sealed the 23-20 Super Bowl win for the Rams. Stafford finished 26-of-40 for 283 yards, three interceptions, and two touchdowns. Burrow finished 22-of-33 for 263 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Kupp had a “modest” day of eight catches for. 92 yards and the game-winning touchdown while Tee Higgins led the Bengals with four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.