Super Bowl 56 lived up to the expectation as the season finale featuring the team built with veteran stardom against the team flashing with young promising talent. In the end the Los Angeles Rams are Super Bowl Champions after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at SoFi Stadium.
Here are the breakdowns by position and the resulting letter grade.
Matthew Stafford’s championship gunslinging was on full display in Super Bowl 56. Stafford played with the type of fearless confidence that has caused the passer to throw two interceptions but also throw three touchdowns and ultimately win the game. Stafford’s overall stats on the game was 26 completions on 40 passes, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. One of those interceptions came after the ball bounced off the hands of rookie receiver Ben Skowronek. Stafford has been money in the fourth quarter and in the final offensive phase of this this game trailing by four points, Stafford led a 16 play drive, completed seven of 11 passes and finished with a touchdown strike to Cooper Kupp.
This angle of Matthew Stafford's no-look pass. pic.twitter.com/vwWRUsMekn— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) February 14, 2022
The run game struggled in this game and the offense worked around it. Despite having all three running backs active, there was no room to produce yardage on the ground. Cam Akers, Sony Michel, and Darrell Henderson, combined for 19 carries and 30 yards rushing adding six catches for 57 yards. The biggest play came from Darrell Henderson who made a great catch for 25 yards and third down conversion.
Cooper Kupp was the Super Bowl MVP for posting 92 yards on eight catches and three touchdowns adding one huge run for seven yards on a clutch 4th down conversion. Odell Beckham Jr got off to a great start to the game with two catches for 52 yards and the games first touchdown before exiting the game with a knee injury. Van Jefferson added four catches and rookie Ben Skowronek bobbled and lost a ball off his hands that was intercepted.
GRADE: A+ (hidden minus points for the rookie)
With Tyler Higbee out for the game Brycen Hopkins got the nod and posted four catches on four targets for 47 yards. Higbee was missed in the run game as the fall of reliably run blocking was noticed.
The defensive front of the Bengals put a good challenge for the Rams offensive line. There was no push in the run game and no room for the backs. The pass protection was better. The line provided enough room in the pocket and Stafford was sacked only two times.
The defensive line won the battle in the trenches and was the most impactful group in this Super Bowl. The Rams held the Cincinnati rush attack to only 79 yards on the ground and contributed to a total seven sacks on Joe Burrow. A’Shawn Robinson got a sack. Aaron Donald got two sacks but also took over the game in the final phase but stuffing the run on the final third down and then brining the quarterback to the ground, forcing the bad pass, on the Bengals final offensive play. If Kupp wasn’t named MVP it would have been Donald.
"Aaron Donald's gonna make a play."— NFL (@NFL) February 14, 2022
Sean McVay knew this was 99's moment. Epic. (via @NFLFilms, @insidetheNFL) pic.twitter.com/a0E6vSpsFH
Von Miller continued his contributions to the Rams run into the Super Bowl with two sacks and a one pass deflection. Leonard Floyd also got a sack along with his five tackles. Ernest Jones would be the Rams rookie of the year after his play during the regular season and then during the Super Bowl with seven tackles and a sack.
Jalen Ramsey gave up two big plays to against the Bengals receivers. One of them was on Ja’Marr Chase who will be elite in this league and made the type of play to prove it with a deep ball one handed catch. The second big play given up by Ramsey was due to a face mask grab offensive pass interference maneuver that was not called as a penalty. Minus the 75 yarder that should have been called back, the Rams would’ve held the Bengals to under 200 yards passing. Darious Williams led the team in tackles with eight.
Taylor Rapp had seven tackles and Eric Weddle and Nick Scott added seven more. There were a few big plays over the top by the Bengals and one half back pass for a touchdown that caught Nick Scott out of position.
Matt Gay was one for one on field goal attempts. Johnny Hekker mishandled the snap on an extra point resulting in no extra point that caused the final drive to require four points to tie instead of three.
The coaching challenges from this game escalated from missing tight end Tyler Higbee to then having Odell Beckham Jr exit the game with a knee injury. On offense coach Sean McVay once again put the ball in the hands of his main playmaker. On fourth and one in the fourth quarter McVay called a jet sweep to Kupp for the conversion.