The NFL's Best Wideout Comes Up HUGE Late
Cooper Kupp capped off a hectic possession for the Rams with this one-yard touchdown snag over Cincy's Eli Apple:
Thanks to Kupp's heroics, the Rams own a three-point lead with less than two minutes left to play.
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
Rams Defense Is Beginning to Harass Joe Burrow
With their offense sputtering, the Rams' defense is trying to pick up the slack, which was exceedingly evident as the third quarter ticked away.
Super Bowl 2022
Here’s the latest news on the Rams vs. Bengals Super Bowl 2022 showdown. Get our coverage on how to watch, commercials, the halftime show, injuries and more.
Los Angeles sacked Joe Burrow on back-to-back snaps to halt Burrow's unit and lend Matt Stafford and Co. a chance to redeem itself following a sloppy 15 minutes.
With one quarter left to go on the NFL season, Cincinnati is holding on tight to its 20-16 lead.
Cooper Kupp's Misfire Forces Rams to Settle for FG
Facing a third-and-5 midway through the third quarter, the Rams dialed up a trick play of their own, as Darrell Henderson took a handoff, ran to the left side and then pitched the ball to Cooper Kupp. Kupp then started to scan the field.
No. 10, however, sailed a pass over Matt Stafford's head, as the receiver-turned-QB couldn't find the QB-turned-receiver for the first down.
Matt Gay trotted out to nail a 41-yard field goal after that incompletion, trimming L.A.'s deficit back down to 4.
Evan McPherson Stays Perfect on Field Goals in Postseason
The Bengals must've had better Capri Sun and oranges at halftime considering how they've outplayed the Rams since intermission.
Higgins' second TD on the night was immediately followed by this Cincinnati takeaway, which'll go down as Matt Stafford's second interception of the contest:
Aaron Donald compiled two sacks after the quick change of possession to keep the Bengals from tacking on yet another touchdown, so Evan McPherson was brought on for a field goal.
He converted, not surprisingly, to put his bunch up by 7.
Tee Higgins Makes a House Call To Begin the Third Quarter
Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins didn't want to be overshadowed by what many are calling the best Super Bowl halftime show ever, so they decided to engage in some showmanship of their own.
On the first offensive play of the second half, Burrow bought enough time before launching a deeeeeeep shot to Higgins, who shook free from Jalen Ramsey — or committed pass interference? — corralled the ball and then cruised all the way for a 75-yard touchdown:
Evan McPherson's extra point pushed Cincinnati ahead by a score of 17-13.
A Joe Burrow Kneeldown Sends the Super Bowl to Halftime
After 30 minutes of very solid football that included lots of scintillating stretches of very exciting football, the Rams head into the locker rooms with a 13-10 advantage.
Matt Stafford is 12-of-18 with two touchdowns and one interception, while his counterpart, Joe Burrow, is also 12-of-18.
Burrow's tailback, Joe Mixon, is responsible for the Bengals' lone passing touchdown (duh).
Jessie Bates III Picks Off Matt Stafford at Two-Minute Warning
With his offense facing third-and-14, Matt Stafford tried to give Van Jefferson the opportunity to haul in a ridiculous touchdown.
But Bengals safety Jessie Bates III prevented that from occuring.
Stafford's prayer was a touch underthrown, which allowed Bates III to get his head around and pluck the pass out of midair.
After a taunting penalty on the celebration, the Bengals assumed possession on their own 10-yard line.
Odell Beckham Jr. Gets Hurt Late in Second Quarter
Odell Beckham Jr.'s first quarter featured a touchdown grab. His second quarter, unfortunately, featured him grabbing his knee.
On a short crossing route, OBJ came up lame and had to be helped off the field by Rams trainers. He has since been labeled as questionable to return.
The Bengals Think Creatively to Score Their First TD
Joe Mixon apparently got tired of all the Joe Burrow hype and decided to be the first Bengal to throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
While close to the goal line, Burrow tossed a handoff to his running back, who proceeded to pull up and loft a pass to Tee Higgins. Higgins had more than enough time to wait for Mixon's floater to come down, and Cincinnati's risk ended up producing their first six-pointer of the evening.
As Al Michaels explained on the broadcast, that was Mixon's first-ever professional pass attempt. Pretty decent timing.
Matt Stafford's Second Touchdown Pass of the Night Goes to Cooper Kupp
The Bengals probably brought up Cooper Kupp's name about 14,000 times during their Super Bowl LVI preparations, yet all that focus wasn't enough to prevent Kupp's second-quarter end zone visit.
After finding Odell Beckham Jr. on a third-and-11 to extend L.A.'s drive and hitting Darrell Henderson on a cleverly-designed wheel route, Matt Stafford rolled right and connected with Kupp, who was all alone in the back right corner.
There were some shenanigans on the ensuing PAT attempt, so the Rams' lead is only 13-3. Wideouts on both sides of the ball are balling out, though, with Kupp becoming the latest to do so.
Ja'Marr Chase Beats Jalen Ramsey for Cincy's First Splash Play, Sets Up FG
This Ja'Marr Chase dude seems to have a decent future ahead of him.
With the Bengals in desperate need of momentum, Joe Burrow decided to go to his former LSU comrade, even though the always-dangerous Jalen Ramsey was matched up across from Chase. That proved to be a wise choice on Burrow's behalf:
That one-hander spanned 46 yards, and though Burrow's third-down attempt to Tee Higgins was batted down, Evan McPherson came on to get his squad on the board with a chip-shot field goal.
The first quarter concluded moments later, as the Rams are up, 7-3.
Matt Stafford and the Rams Cash in on Cincinnati's Turnover
The scoreboard is officially active.
After their clutch defensive stop, Matt Stafford guided the Rams into scoring range, thanks mostly to a Cooper Kupp catch and run that came on third-and-4.
From there, Stafford picked out Odell Beckham Jr., who was able to sky over a Bengals defensive back and secure the catch as he tumbled to the ground. It'll go down as a 17-yard touchdown reception for the midseason free agent pickup:
Bengals Go For it on Fourth-and-1, But Joe Burrow's Pass Gets Tipped
The Rams picked up one first down on their first foray with the ball and then punted it over to the Bengals, who worked their way to a fourth-and-1 and had a decision to make.
With the ball on the midfield logo, Cincy chose to go for it, but Joe Burrow's pass was tipped and fell incomplete. The underdogs tried to make an early statement, but instead, they've gifted the Rams with solid field position.
Los Angeles sets up shop on their own 49.
Rams to Open on Offense
Matt Stafford called "tails," the coin showed "heads" and the Bengals deferred to the second half, meaning Los Angeles will take the field on offense first at SoFi Stadium.
Finally, This Thing is Set to Commence
The pregame singing by Jhene Aiko and Mickey Guyton is over — and was executed beautifully, by the way — and the coin toss is up next.
To quote Adam Sandler in Billy Madison, "CHERISH IT." There's only one kickoff left before the long, dark, longgggggg NFL offseason is upon us, after all.
Hopefully this battle goes to triple overtime.
Thankfully, Only 30 Minutes to Go
It's a real shame that tonight is so limited when it comes to viewing options...
There is no such thing as Sunday Scaries considering what's about to take place tonight (unless you're a Rams or a Bengals fan — in that case, things are starting to feel truly scary right about now).
Super Bowl Preview: Rams vs. Bengals, Opening Kickoff Coming at 6:30 p.m.
In roughly six or so hours — barring overtime, an excessively-long halftime show or another epic, ill-timed power outage — either the Los Angeles Rams or the Cincinnati Bengals will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as champions of Super Bowl LVI.
A win for the Rams would do wonders for Matt Stafford's legacy, solidify Sean McVay as one of the sport's best coaches and give Aaron Donald a sweet souvenir during his stroll to the Hall of Fame.
A victory for the Bengals, meanwhile, would put Joe Burrow on top of the pro football world far quicker than anyone expected, close out Ja'Marr Chase's sterling rookie campaign in emphatic fashion and hand the city of Cincy its first-ever ring.
The only thing standing between the present and those above outcomes is four quarters of action, the first of which will commence at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET. If you're looking for pregame coverage online, head to this link here.
So, until the ball is teed up and this matchup officially begins, make sure those wings get cooked perfectly, those adult beverages are being chilled appropriately and those healthy snacks are spiked into the trash can where they belong. There's no time for carrot sticks when the Super Bowl is on.