The last time the Los Angeles Rams played the Cincinnati Bengals was in Week 8 of 2019. The Rams entered the game 4-3, the Bengals were 0-7 and the Rams won 24-10. Also, the game was played in Wembley Stadium in London.
Much has changed since that 2019 match up when both teams missed the playoffs but as we stand eight days from the Super Bowl it’s worth looking back at what elements of those teams are still in place contributing to the Championship run and what elements were necessary adjustments.
The head coaches are the same. Zac Taylor worked for Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and 2018, then 2019 was his first season as the Bengals head coach. The two coaches will represent the youngest coaches (ages combined) to compete in the Super Bowl.
Both teams have changed their quarterback. In the 2019 matchup, the quarterback for the Rams was Jared Goff and the Bengals offense was led by Andy Dalton. Cincinnati drafted Joe Burrow as the first overall pick in 2020 to replace Dalton and the Rams traded Goff to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford.
Cooper Kupp had 220 yards receiving in the 2019 matchup against the Bengals. Kupp is of course still on the Rams and while that Bengals game marks the most single game yards he’s posted in his career, his overall 2021 season has been historic.
Todd Gurley was the Rams running back and has since been released by the Rams, played with the Falcons through 2020, and sat as a free agent through the 2021 season. Sony Michel and Cam Akers will run the ball for the Rams in Super Bowl 56. Joe Mixon was the Bengals running back in 2019 and posted 66 yards over 17 carries against the Rams.
Aaron Donald got one sack on Dalton against the Bengals in 2019 and is still the best player on the Rams NFC Champion team.
And now for today’s links: