Overtime: The Rams Went All In. It Worked.


Matthew Stafford and the Rams are Super Bowl Champions. (Courtesy of Twitter)

The Los Angeles Rams truly put all of their cards on the table for the 2021 season. The team finally moved on from quarterback Jared Goff this past offseason and acquired Matthew Stafford from the Lions in a package that sent Goff and two first-round picks to Detroit. On the defensive side, they acquired outside linebacker Von Miller from Denver in a midseason trade that saw the Rams give up more picks again. With the additions of Stafford, Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. to go along with the homegrown talent of Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald, this Rams team was truly in a “win now” mindset.

They did just that. On Sunday, Feb. 13, the Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI in a game that truly went down to the wire. Los Angeles overcame numerous mid-game issues to eventually become champions. For one, Beckham, who caught the game’s first touchdown, tore his ACL in the 2nd quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the game. Without Beckham, the Rams struggled on offense for large chunks of the game. Running back Cam Akers had just 21 yards rushing on 13 carries as the Rams had difficulty moving the ball on the ground.

When the offense wasn’t moving the ball, the defense stepped up to keep the Rams in the game. Donald and Miller contributed two sacks each and tormented Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow all night long. In all, Burrow was sacked seven times by the Rams pass rush. 

With six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, LA began their game-winning drive. Trailing 20-16, Stafford connected with Kupp three times on the final drive, including the winning touchdown on a goal line fade route. Kupp finished the day with 92 yards and two touchdowns, earning him the coveted Super Bowl MVP award to cap off one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history.

Burrow and the Bengals still had plenty of time left for a potential game-tying drive with over a minute left and two timeouts at their disposal. The Bengals moved the ball to midfield, but the Rams elite defensive front came up clutch, stopping Cincinnati on two consecutive short-yard situations to win the Super Bowl for the Rams. Donald made the game-winning play on fourth and one by pressuring Burrow and forcing a wild throw that landed incomplete, sending LA fans into a frenzy and cementing his legacy as a Rams legend.

A common idea across the NFL for the past few seasons was that Goff was holding back this high-powered Rams offense from reaching its full potential. It was also widely held that Stafford was being held back by the Lions. This season has been evidence that both of those statements were true, and that Stafford and the Rams were a match made in heaven. It is safe to say that Goff wouldn’t have connected on some of the clutch throws that Stafford made this postseason. That’s not to say that Goff is a bad quarterback-Stafford is just on another level. In an offense like the Rams, he truly has the ability to shine for the first time in his career.

With rumors of Donald’s retirement swirling, this was the year that the Rams had to win it all. LA hasn’t had a first round pick since 2016 and won’t have one for the next two seasons as well. The team was assembled to win a championship this season. If they hadn’t, it is possible that the window for the Rams to win with this core would have been close to sealing shut. But LA’s superstars made big plays when they needed to, helping to bring home the second Super Bowl in Ram’s franchise history.