Sean McVay worked as hard as any head coach in the NFL to get to this point and now nobody can ever take this title away from him: Super Bowl-winning head coach.
McVay is a bold coach, with a bold general manager helping him build a roster, and a bold quarterback under center to take the necessary risks that got the L.A. Rams to the Super Bowl. With the game not going their way in the second quarter and start of the second half, the Rams needed boldness in order to scratch back into the lead.
Finally, after a defensive performance kept the Cincinnati Bengals from adding to their lead and really pulling away, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp made it 23-20 and Aaron Donald finished it off to guarantee a Rams’ Super Bowl championship in L.A.
Here are seven immediate thoughts from the game.
Von Miller is a legend
It’s crazy that Von Miller is somewhat overshadowed on the Rams by Aaron Donald. That’s just how good Donald is right not, but Miller has had arguably the most impressive playoffs resume of any defensive player of his generation. By vacationing in Hollywood this winter, Von Miller has secured his third Super Bowl appearance and second Lombardi trophy.
It feels a bit like getting to watch Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White in the middle of their heights. Miller finished with two sacks and the one-time Super Bowl MVP has nine sacks in his last seven playoff games.
Ernest Jones is a star in the making?
Not many pegged Jones for a starting role as a rookie when he was picked in the third round in 2021, and that’s not what he was to begin the season. But opportunities presented themselves midseason and only a year after playing at South Carolina, he was starting in the Super Bowl.
Jones finished with seven tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss, three QB hits, and one huge fourth down pass deflection.
Cooper Kupp a deserving Super Bowl MVP
I would have voted for Aaron Donald, but maybe I was thinking too much with my heart? It doesn’t mean that I would ever vote against Kupp, who has completed one of the top five seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history.
He’s now the triple crown winner, the Offensive Player of the Year, the Super Bowl MVP, and a champion.
Kupp had 92 yards and two touchdowns, and most of his production came in the fourth quarter. Understandable, as Kupp was by far the most prolific fourth quarter player in the NFL this season.
Feeling good, feeling bad for Odell Beckham Jr
OBJ has long dreamed of being a champion. He fell short at LSU. He didn’t get there with the Giants. His career in Cleveland was disappointing for everyone.
Now he’s a Super Bowl champion!
Unfortunately, OBJ suffered a knee injury in the first half and did not return. Early reports are only early reports, but it is unfortunate that he wasn’t able to finish the game. OBJ is a free agent in 2022 and we know that both sides would like to stay together.
Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are great
Sorry, only team can win the Super Bowl and it had to be the Rams.
Matthew Stafford was quintessential Matthew Stafford - the good and the bad
Only Stafford could seemingly throw three touchdowns, including the game-winner, in the Super Bowl and not win Super Bowl MVP.
I get the feeling that if his name was almost anything else, that people would be more willing to forgive the two interceptions and focus on how he finished that game. He finished it like he’s been finishing games for years: Matthew Stafford is a dagger to the heart with the game on the line and that was the case in the Super Bowl.
That’s what the Rams paid two first round picks for and it was worth everything that it cost.
Matthew Stafford is a Super Bowl champion.
I hope Aaron Donald does not retire, but if he does, he’s still going to be the greatest defensive player drafted in this century
The Aaron Donald retirement rumors are concerning only because they do make some sense. Retiring at 30 is not wild, even for elite athletes in their prime, as Matthew Stafford can attest to from personal experience of seeing Calvin Johnson leave the game at 30. Or Andrew Luck retiring at 29. Or Barry Sanders retiring at 30.
Donald is a four-time Defensive Player of the Year and he’s been elite in virtually every game he’s ever played in. He’s now a Super Bowl champion and he’s made enough money to take care of his family forever.
If this is the last game of Aaron Donald, he absolutely goes out on top. He finished the NFC Championship game AND the Super Bowl with QB pressures that turned into silly throwaways. He’s as devastating as anyone to have ever played the position.