Bengals score at Super Bowl 2022: Los Angeles torments Joe Burrow as Cincinnati spits late lead

The Cincinnati Bengals were just minutes away from winning their first-ever Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams, but their potentially winning practice fell through as Joe Burrow and Co. fell, 23-20. Cooper Kupp’s touchdown with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter gave the Rams the advantage late, giving Burrow the opportunity for a draw or win. However, he came under pressure from Aaron Donald on fourth-and-first with 43 seconds left and was unable to make a first pass to Samaje Perine.

Burrow finished the game having completed 22 of 33 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, while Joe Mixon also threw for a touchdown. Tee Higgins was the recipient of both scores, as he caught four passes for 100 yards. The Bengals defense held firm all day, but the Rams’ 15-play, 79-yard touchdown in the end sealed the deal.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened in Los Angeles on Sunday.

What went well for the Bengals

Rookie phenom Ja’Marr Chase had a great game with five catches for 89 yards, but the Bengals definitely needed another point guard to step in. Higgins did just that, catching Cincy’s two touchdowns. Mixon was also effective on the ground, as he rushed for 72 yards on 15 carries, averaging 4.8 rushing yards per touch.

Defensively, the Bengals’ front four played intense football through all four quarters. The Rams had just 43 yards rushing, with Cam Akers leading them with 21 yards on 13 carries. There was absolutely nothing LA could do on the field, and that’s a credit to that defensive front.

What went wrong for the Bengals

Going into this game, a lot has been done on the Cincinnati offensive line. They allowed nine sacks against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round, and Burrow spent half of the AFC Championship game dodging Kansas City Chiefs passers. How would they resist Aaron Donald and Co.? The offensive line actually did a great job in the first half, allowing only one sack. However, they collapsed in the second half and allowed six sacks. Burrow’s seven sacks tied the Super Bowl record. He finishes the playoffs having been sacked 19 times, which is the most a quarterback has been sacked in a single playoff. This hurt the Bengals late, as they scored no points in the fourth quarter. This is the only quarter where they failed to score.

Containing Kupp was always going to be a difficult task, even with Odell Beckham Jr. leaving early with a knee injury. The Super Bowl MVP finished with eight receptions for 92 yards, but he also caught two touchdowns. That includes the winning score, where he was lined up one-on-one against Eli Apple.

It was a tight game that went down to the very last practice, but the Rams’ stars eventually outplayed those of the Bengals.

Bengals play the game

Late in the second quarter, the Bengals were probing deep into Rams territory. They used the running game to get into the red zone, so when Mixon received a throw to the right, the Rams defensive backs came down to stop him. This allowed the running back to throw a pass to an open Higgins in the back of the end zone.

Check out Cincy’s first touchdown of the game, here.

The Bengals clearly spent time watching the halftime show as they came out of the break pumped up. On the first play of the third quarter, Burrow found Higgins for a 75-yard touchdown. Now, did the sophomore pull Jalen Ramsey’s face mask a bit while positioning himself for the catch? Yes. But it was not reported.

It was the longest Super Bowl receiving touchdown since Muhsin Muhammad’s 85-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Check it out:

And after

Again, no one expected the Bengals to be there. Win or lose, this franchise has a good head coach, a legit franchise quarterback, several stars at wide receiver, and a defense that has surprised everyone with its performance. Cincinnati will use this offseason to get better, and the Bengals will enter the 2022 season as defending AFC champions who will remember that sour feeling.

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