The Cincinnati Bengals have confirmed head coach Zac Taylor has been rewarded for their run to the Super Bowl with a new contract.

Taylor, 38, guided the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years during what was a momentous season.

While Cincinnati were ultimately beaten 23-20 by the Los Angeles Rams – Taylor's previous employers – in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday in Inglewood, rumours quickly began to circulate that he was to be handed a new deal.

The franchise confirmed the news on Wednesday, with Taylor signing through 2026, and Bengals president Mike Brown was keen to show his and the city's gratitude to the coach.

"He's a good young coach," Brown wrote. "Zac has come into the league and worked to develop the foundations for a winning program that can be successful over time.

"The fruits of Zac's efforts were seen this year, and Zac is well-regarded by our players and coaches. I know the effort and passion Zac brings to the building and to our team, and I am pleased by his approach.

"And I think the city of Cincinnati sees him the way the players and I do. He's brought excitement to the town and deserves credit and recognition for that."

Not only did Taylor end the Bengals' long wait for a crack at the Super Bowl, but their 26-19 Wild Card win over the Las Vegas Raiders in January was their first playoff victory in 31 years.

The Bengals scored 444 points over the 16 games that the starters played, just four short of the franchise record set in 1988.

The output and run of the 2021 vintage was, according to Brown, largely down to Taylor and his coaching.

"In this league, if you want to get to where you wish, getting to the Super Bowl, you need a lot of things," Brown added.

"All of those are important, but certain people, and I would be one, would say the most important part is being able to score.

"These days 30 points is at a level you're able to win week in and week out. It's something we're shooting for in the future.

"We have the ability to do it if we're going right. Zac is the reason we can do that. It's his system. He teaches it effectively and our guys have bought into it."

Odell Beckham Jr. will undergo surgery on his left knee this week after again tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, NFL Network has reported.

Beckham left the first half of Sunday's Super Bowl LVI after appearing to land awkwardly on his knee.

The superstar receiver had scored the opening touchdown of the game for the Los Angeles Rams but was downgraded to out in the second half and restricted to the role of spectator as the Cincinnati Bengals were beaten 23-20.

Beckham sustained an ACL tear to the same knee in 2020 – also against the Bengals – and Monday brought widespread reports he had suffered the same injury again.

"Thank you all for the love and support," he wrote on his Twitter page. "God always got me. He's always had a plan. He made me a world champion! I'm so grateful!"

On Tuesday, NFL Network said Beckham would soon have surgery in order to recover as quickly as possible as he enters free agency.

The Rams have limited room for manoeuvre within the salary cap – set to come in at $10million over the 2022 cap as things stand.

But Beckham has suggested he would take a pay cut to return, having been a huge success after joining midseason from the Cleveland Browns.

Assuming a full recovery from his latest serious injury, the Rams could again look to pair Beckham with triple crown wide receiver and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp.

Across the regular season and playoffs, Beckham caught seven TD passes in 12 games for the Rams – as many as in 29 games in two and a half years with the Browns.

Meanwhile, Kupp followed up his league-leading regular season performance of 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns by again leading all three categories in the postseason (33 catches, 478 yards and six TDs).

Beckham joined the Rams less than two weeks before Robert Woods tore his ACL, giving the new signing a more prominent role.

Woods, who comforted Beckham on Sunday, had caught four TDs and rushed for another in nine games in 2021 before his injury.

The Minnesota Vikings will belatedly confirm Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell as their new head coach this week, according to an ESPN report.

An announcement has been delayed to this point due to the O'Connell's involvement in the postseason with his current team.

But after the Rams' playoff run ended with victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at their SoFi Stadium home on Sunday, the Vikings have been cleared to name their man.

O'Connell will be introduced on Thursday, following the Rams' team meetings and exit interviews on Tuesday and victory parade in LA on Wednesday.

He joined the Rams in 2020 from Washington and helped lead Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. to the championship this year.

Although Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was said to be among the interviewees who missed out on the Vikings job, O'Connell's departure means Sean McVay will have to bring in a key member of coaching staff for the second time in two years; Brandon Staley, Morris' predecessor as DC, went to the Los Angeles Chargers last year.

Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator Wes Phillips will also have a role on O'Connell's staff, the ESPN report said.

The next Rams OC will not immediately get the opportunity to work with Beckham, regardless of any agreement with the team as he enters free agency.

Beckham, a midseason arrival from the Cleveland Browns, sustained a knee injury in the first half of the Super Bowl, which is now said to be his second ACL tear in the same knee in two seasons.

The wide receiver, who has said he would be willing to accept a pay cut to stay with the Rams, again faces a lengthy rehabilitation process.

The make-up of the rest of the team is far from certain, too, with superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald delaying any decision on his future after finally winning a ring.

McVay, the youngest ever Super Bowl-winning head coach, has been similarly non-committal.

Gymnastics star Simone Biles is engaged to Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens.

The couple, who met shortly before the coronavirus pandemic, announced the news via their social media pages on Tuesday.

"Woke up a fiance," Biles tweeted. "I can't wait to spend forever and ever with you, you're everything I dreamed of and more!"

In January last year, Owens said the enforced shutdown of sport caused by COVID-19 allowed him and Biles to spend time getting to know one another.

"It was one of the few times in her life where everything was just shut off and she couldn't do anything," he told Texas Monthly. "So we used it to get to know each other - really get to know each other. It created our bond and made it stronger. Now I'm so thankful."

Biles, 24, is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and is regarded as one of the greatest gymnasts in the history of the sport.

She holds a record 25 world championship medals, 19 of which are gold, and is the only female gymnast with five world all-around titles.

At the Tokyo Olympics last year, Biles withdrew from four individual events for which she had qualified after pulling out of the women's team competition after just one rotation.

The United States star cited the need to focus on her mental health as she chose not to contest the individual all-round, vault, uneven bars and floor exercise finals.

Biles returned for the balance beam final, winning bronze, after which she described her pride in bringing greater attention to mental health concerns.

Owens, 26, was signed by the Texans after spending a year with the Arizona Cardinals. He played seven times in the NFL last season.

The immediate futures of head coach Sean McVay and veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald will not be determined for a month according to Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.

McVay guided the Rams to Sunday's 23-20 Super Bowl LVI triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, making him the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl in NFL history at 36-years-old.

Donald made a series of key plays to clinch victory for the Rams but speculation has been rife about the 30-year-old's playing future, although he declined to discuss it in the aftermath of victory.

“I think all of these guys are wiped,” Demoff told reporters on Monday. “When you get to this point, the gas tank is empty and you’re sitting there holding a trophy.

"I think that’s daunting to some degree when you wake up this morning and realize you’ve got to go do it all over again, and you don’t have the energy so I think the talk is actually natural.

“I would agree. I don’t think Sean’s current pace is sustainable in terms of how much work he puts in if you want to have a family. But I think the one thing, these guys all love football.

"They love being around each other… These are all natural questions that are hard to answer in the moment. A month away, two months away from everybody, and I think things will feel a lot better.”

McVay added that good things happens when you get great players pulling in the same direction, as the Rams claimed their first Super Bowl victory since 1999, when they were based in St Louis.

The Rams invested heavily in success ahead of this season, bringing in quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and outside line backer Von Miller in the past 12 months.

"When you get around great players and great coaches who are all committed and pulling in the same direction, pulling that rope in the same direction, good things can happen," McVay told reporters on Monday.

"Each team is a new team every single year but when you have the right foundational pieces like Cooper [Kupp], [Andrew] Whitworth, Stafford, Aaron Donald, the list goes on, you just feel grateful to be a part of it.

"Because of their success other people get a chance to grow."

"I think defense is going to win this game. Somebody has to step up and stop these superstar quarterbacks, that team is going to win this game. I just think the defense has to score the knockout."

Michael Buffer has made his name as the voice of professional boxing, but he clearly knows his football, as his Super Bowl prediction proved remarkably prescient.

It was indeed a defensive player who delivered the knockout blow of Super Bowl LVI, as the Los Angeles Rams fought back to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

The league's premier defensive star, Aaron Donald, was the source of that telling strike, and it may well prove the final one of his career.

On a must-have fourth-down attempt for the Bengals following Cooper Kupp's go-ahead touchdown, Donald sliced through the interior of the Bengals' offensive line and corralled a hobbled Joe Burrow, who flung a desperation pass that proved too short for Samaje Perine.

Donald finally climbing the mountain with the Rams after years of defensive dominance will only heighten talk of retirement that emerged pre-game.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was non-committal on his future speaking after the game, choosing to focus on a moment in which he vindicated head coach Sean McVay's faith in him.

McVay told Donald he would make the decisive play, delivering a show of confidence in a player whose consistent brilliance has merited such belief.

"He told me that when I got to the sideline. You have to be relentless. You want something bad enough, you go get it," Donald told a media conference. 

"It was right in front of us. We had the lead. It was put on the defense's shoulders to make the big stop to make us world champions. You wouldn't want it another way.

"All offseason you work, you train, you got camp, you got a long season just for this one game to be the last team standing. You have to give it everything you've got.

"It's about being relentless, showing up when you need to. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. It's truly a blessing, the opportunity to play this game, but not just play this game, play with great team-mates, great coaches, great organisation.

"Been here eight years, lot of ups-and-downs, so to see it come full circle and be a world champion, all that hard work you put into this game, that's what it's for. Finally mission complete, so it feels great."

Describing the final play, he said: "We had made a third-down stop. Fourth down, I thought they would run, but they dropped back to pass. Found a way to get the chop-club and bend the edge and found a way to get to the quarterback and make him throw an errant pass.

"I actually tried to get the ball out, but he threw it up so I was a little nervous at first. It was a huge play. It was a great few stops for the defense that we made leading up to that. I think we started taking over the game up front when we needed to. We're world champs."

Zac Taylor refused to blame the officials after a controversial defensive holding call went against the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl LVI defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led 20-16 going into the final minutes at SoFi Stadium, but the Rams produced the longest go-ahead fourth-quarter drive in Super Bowl history to claim a dramatic 23-20 victory thanks to Matthew Stafford's touchdown throw to Cooper Kupp.

Three plays before that touchdown on a back-shoulder fade, the Bengals appeared to have the Rams stopped on the Cincinnati eight-yard line when Logan Wilson batted down a third-down pass to Kupp.

However, Wilson was flagged for holding despite there appearing to be minimal contact between the Bengals linebacker and Kupp, giving the Rams a new set of downs.

A touchdown throw to Kupp was then nullified by offsetting penalties before the wideout drew a pass interference flag on Eli Apple and Stafford failed on a quarterback sneak prior to making the crucial connection with the Super Bowl MVP.

Asked about Wilson's defensive stop being taken away by penalty, Taylor told a post-game media conference: "It's tough, I thought it was a really well-officiated game to be quite honest with you and sometimes it comes down to moments like those, I didn't have a great look at it but I thought the officials did a nice job."

Wilson appeared slightly more willing to criticise, hinting that Kupp may have been guilty of offensive pass interference through a push-off.

"Yeah, I mean, Cooper came up to me and tried to push off of me and I thought I made a good play on the ball and the refs saw otherwise so, it's a tough call," said Wilson.

Joe Burrow was sacked a Super Bowl-record seven times as a much-maligned offensive line fell apart in the second half, the Bengals quarterback left hobbled after appearing to injure his knee.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald clinched victory by powering past Quinton Spain to force a desperation heave from Burrow on a do-or-die fourth down on the final drive that came up short of Samaje Perine's clutches.

On the severity of Burrow's injury, Taylor said: "It's hard to know, he was able to play and I'm just calling the plays at that point, we'll find out more. 

"I thought in the first half of this game the protection was tremendous, then in the second half we called some passes and it got difficult.

"We'll have to see how they all played out, everyone's gonna say it's the offensive line, we've gotta see exactly how that played out. We don't ever want our quarterback to get hit but that's life in the NFL sometimes.

"It's hard to lose really on the last play of the game, we were moving the ball we feel like to win the game, not tie it, we were gonna try to go win it, been working for the last six months, play 21 games to lose the Super Bowl, it's not a lot of fun."

Joe Burrow is confident the Cincinnati Bengals will get more opportunities to win a first Super Bowl after they came up just short against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led for almost the entire second half at SoFi Stadium, but Matthew Stafford's clutch touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp secured a 23-20 Rams win.

This was the Bengals' third appearance in the Super Bowl and their third defeat, although this young team ended a 31-year drought in terms of playoff wins.

Burrow, therefore, expects the Bengals to kick on and find motivation in the pain of defeat.

"It hurts," he told a news conference. "We put a lot of work into going out there and executing and performing well, and it didn't turn out the way we wanted, so it's disappointing."

Burrow added: "We're a young team, so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

The Bengals' inability to protect their quarterback was key to their loss, with Burrow taking a record-tying seven sacks – one of which left him hobbling.

Burrow said his knee "feels good", however, and refused to blame his offensive line, focusing instead on his own display.

"I was disappointed with my performance overall," he said. "I thought I could have played better, given us a better chance to win, but you live and you learn."

Burrow, who finished with 263 yards and a single touchdown on 22-of-33 passing, tried to focus on the positives, citing a quote from former quarterback Kurt Warner who had "let [defeat] sting too much and didn't celebrate what they accomplished".

"Obviously it stings, but we had a great year," Burrow said. "We didn't come out of this last game the way we wanted to, but we still have something to celebrate."

The abiding image of Super Bowl LVI looked as if it would be the sight of Odell Beckham Jr. in tears on the sideline, desperately disappointed at being unable to help his Los Angeles Rams team-mates as they laboured against the Cincinnati Bengals in his absence forced by a knee injury suffered in the second quarter.

Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald refused to let that be the case.

As they have done throughout a rollercoaster 2021 campaign, the Rams' two biggest stars stepped up to ensure the loss of the one they acquired in a blockbuster midseason signing would not prove decisive, once again rising to the occasion to propel the franchise to its first Super Bowl title in Los Angeles with a 23-20 win at their SoFi Stadium home, which was awash with Bengals fans.

Until the penultimate drive, the injury to Beckham, who scored the Rams' first touchdown, appeared set to be the turning point. After he limped off the field, the Rams saw a drive end in points just once, kicking a field goal in the third quarter to trim the Bengals' lead to 20-16. Other than that, their offensive series in the wake of Beckham's injury produced a pair of interceptions and four punts.

Having enjoyed a stunning postseason, Matthew Stafford was struggling for chemistry with any of his receivers minus the attention Beckham commands. It was a problem the Rams did not look like solving, but the solution ultimately proved a simple one, as they reverted to a policy that has often served them well this season on the final drive: feed Kupp.

Kupp had touched the ball just twice after Beckham went down. A lack of involvement for the Offensive Player of the Year and now Super Bowl MVP was never likely to produce the desired result for the Rams, so on fourth and one with the game on the line they made sure the ball ended up in his hands, Kupp coming across the formation and receiving a hand-off from Stafford that he took for seven yards.

From there, the final drive was the Kupp show, the wide receiver's final act of one of the most exciting seasons of recent memory sure to be one that will live in NFL lore.

Kupp racked up 46 scrimmage yards as he was targeted six times by Matthew Stafford, those targets resulting in 39 yards, two critical penalties and, most importantly, a leaping grab in the endzone that finally ended the Rams' wait for a title in the city they returned to in 2016 after over two decades away.

A key defensive holding call against Logan Wilson on third and eight from the Cincinnati eight-yard line was dubious, while a pass interference penalty on Eli Apple that put the ball on the one-yard line was more obvious, but there was no doubt about the quality from Kupp as he sold Apple an inside release and then adjusted perfectly to a back-shoulder throw from Stafford to erase the Bengals' 20-16 lead.

As he did in the Divisional Round and the Conference Championship, Kupp had struck a telling blow, but the Rams needed a closer on defense with a Bengals reply initially looking promising. Enter Donald.

The man most consider the best player in the NFL hadn't quite succeeded in wrecking the game even as a much-maligned Bengals offensive line disintegrated in the second half and left Joe Burrow hobbled, yet he saved his best for the most significant play of the game on a do-or-die fourth down for Cincinnati, powering past Bengals left guard Quinton Spain with a two-hand swipe move and flinging Burrow to the turf as he let loose a desperation pass that fell short of Samaje Perine.

It meant that tears of joy from Beckham – rather than his earlier anguish – would, along with that of Donald gesturing to put a ring on his finger, be one of the abiding images from a game that saw Sean McVay become the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach in NFL history.

The Rams' road to Super Bowl glory has come the hard way, Los Angeles becoming the first team to win three successive postseason games by three points or fewer, and there has been a common thread across each of those wins. When they have needed them the most, the Rams have seen their stars – be it Stafford, Kupp and Beckham on offense or Donald and Co. on defense – deliver.

As a franchise, the Rams have eschewed the traditional team-building methods, trading away draft pick after draft pick to build a top-heavy roster and inviting scrutiny with each setback the team suffered as a result. In Kupp and Donald, though, it is two homegrown draft picks who have ensured those stumbles and any questions about the construction of their roster can now be forgotten, with the Rams free to enjoy the feeling of vindication for the next six months.

Los Angeles went off-script to build a perennial playoff contender and, thanks to that approach and the Rams' ability to come through in a cliffhanger, it is the team from the city of stars that ends the year outshining all others.

Sean McVay described the nature of the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI triumph as "poetic" after they came up big on offense and defense to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Rams – playing at their SoFi Stadium home – had led in the first half before Odell Beckham. Jr, who scored the opening touchdown, departed with a knee injury.

The Bengals took control for a period and had a four-point advantage inside the two-minute warning.

But a record-breaking 15-play go-ahead drive ended with Matthew Stafford throwing a TD pass to Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp.

There was still work to do on defense, with the Bengals within a field goal of overtime, yet Aaron Donald stuffed the run on third-and-one and then forced an incompletion on fourth down to clinch victory.

McVay considered the dramatic conclusion fitting for his team, who became the first to win three games by three points or fewer in the same postseason thanks to this 23-20 success.

The coach, who reserved praise for the "great job" from Stafford and Kupp, who "took over the game", said: "It feels outstanding.

"You talk about a resilient team, coaches, players, I'm so proud of this group, just proud to be associated with it.

"We talk about competitive greatness all the time, being your best when the best is required. For the offense to be able to find the way and then Aaron to be able to finish it off, it's poetic."

Matthew Stafford deflected praise onto his Los Angeles Rams team-mates after leading them to Super Bowl LVI success.

Quarterback Stafford threw for 283 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 26-of-40 passing as the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

The Rams had to do it the hard way at SoFi Stadium, without Odell Beckham Jr. through injury for more than half of the game and trailing by four points inside the two-minute warning.

But Stafford and triple crown wide receiver Cooper Kupp combined for a decisive touchdown on a 15-play drive.

That was the longest go-ahead drive in terms of plays in a fourth quarter in Super Bowl history.

Stafford was asked how his work with Kupp came together, but he was eager to share the credit for the victory.

"That's hard work. That's hours together," he told CBS. "[Coach Sean McVay said], 'Matthew, you and Cooper are getting this done'. He kept calling plays for him, finding ways to get him the ball.

"He made unbelievable plays – that's what he does.

"I'm just so proud of this team, it's such a team victory. Our defense played outstanding, our special teams were big when we needed it, such a great game."

Reflecting on the game as a whole, the QB said: "I'm so proud of this team. There's so many guys on our team that deserve this, so many great players, guys that have just given their heart and soul to this team, guys that are either playing in this game or not – because of injuries or whatever it is.

"I'm just so proud of this group. That game today is the story of our season – it's up and down, it's tough, but we're a tough team, showed up late and got it done. I'm excited."

Stafford added of the secret to their success: "The way we pull for each other. We work together every single day and sharpen each other's skills.

"I get to go against that defense every single day – how can I not get better? I hope they feel the same way about us.

"We care for each other. That starts top down – Sean does an unbelievable job connecting us as players, leading the way. We follow his lead and we're here now."

Kupp, who became the second player to catch TD passes in four straight games in the same postseason, finishing with six scores in this year's playoffs, was named Super Bowl MVP.

As the celebrations started, he said: "I'm just proud of this team, the way we prepared, the way we loved all each other, trusted each other.

"I don't feel deserving of this. The guys were so good. I'm just so thankful of the guys I get to be around, the coaches, my family. I don't know what to say."

Kupp had eight catches on 10 targets for 92 yards and two TDs.

Aaron Donald delayed any decision on his NFL future after helping the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LVI at their SoFi Stadium home.

Donald, one of the league's greatest ever defensive players, is an eight-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All-Pro First-team selection and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, but team success had evaded him.

The 30-year-old was one of three starters against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday who had also started the Super Bowl LIII defeat to the New England Patriots.

But a big performance from Donald contributed to a precious 23-20 triumph, meaning he could finally get his hands on the Lombardi Trophy.

It had been suggested Donald would retire if the Rams won, but he was in no mood to discuss that possibility immediately after the game.

"I'm in a moment right now. I'm in a moment," he told CBS. "I just want to enjoy this right now with these guys.

"My kids are coming on the field – this is a promise I made to my daughter – so we're going to play in the confetti for a minute, man. I'm just going to live in the moment."

Describing his feelings, Donald said: "I'm so happy. I wanted this so bad. I dreamed this, man. I dreamed this. It's surreal. Look at this, look at this, man. I feel amazing, feel great."

He added: "It's the best feeling in the world. God is great. God is great. I'm lost for words. I don't know what to say. It's a blessing."

Sunday's game came down to fine margins, with the Rams the first team in NFL history to win three games by three points or fewer in a single postseason.

Donald finished with two sacks and three quarterback hits – including forcing an incompletion from Joe Burrow on fourth down in the final seconds. He had stuffed the run on third-and-one, too.

"Strain, strain," he said of his thoughts at that moment. "One last play to be world champs, give it everything you've got. We made a play and we won. That's all that matters."

Cooper Kupp capped a dominant season with two Super Bowl LVI touchdowns to guide the short-handed Los Angeles Rams past the Cincinnati Bengals in LA.

The Rams were heavily reliant on Kupp at their SoFi Stadium home after Odell Beckham Jr. was ruled out with a first-half knee injury, joining tight end Tyler Higbee on the sideline.

But the triple crown wide receiver had just enough to inspire a 23-20 win and deny the Bengals their first championship – with a little help from Aaron Donald.

Before Beckham went down, the Rams' superstar receiving talent had a telling impact, as their second drive ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to the former Cleveland Brown.

The Bengals could only come up with a field goal in response – Evan McPherson's record-breaking 13th consecutive successful conversion in a single postseason – and Stafford soon found Kupp for a fifth TD in four playoff games.

But the remainder of the first half did not play out nearly so smoothly for the Rams, who were pegged back by a career-first Joe Mixon pass – to Tee Higgins for a TD – and then lost Beckham to injury before Jessie Bates III picked off a deep Stafford pass in the endzone.

The Rams still took a three-point lead into halftime, yet that was gone within 12 seconds of the third quarter when an apparent foul by Higgins on Jalen Ramsey was not spotted, allowing the receiver to run in a 75-yard score from Joe Burrow's pass.

Burrow was quickly back on the field, too, as a Stafford throw bounced off Ben Skowronek – promoted in place of Beckham – and into the arms of Chidobe Awuzie for a second interception. Aaron Donald's second sack limited the Bengals to a McPherson field goal.

The Rams were also forced to settle for a field goal after Kupp overthrew a pass to Stafford as they ran the Philly Special, although some heavy punishment dished out to Burrow limited the Bengals' effectiveness on offense, giving Stafford one last drive with a four-point deficit.

After numerous penalties in the red zone, Stafford finally picked out Kupp for another TD, setting the stage for Donald to stall Burrow's reply and spark home celebrations.

Burrow on brand with big plays and sacks

Burrow's 51 sacks in the regular season set a record for any QB to start that year's Super Bowl, but he was largely kept clean in the first half – albeit he did not throw a TD either.

The second half was much more like what we have come to expect from Burrow and the Bengals' offensive line, however.

The NFL leader in passing plays of 50 yards or more (12 in 2021) added another with his TD pass to Higgins, although the controversy around that play – Higgins' hand grasped at Ramsey's facemask – appeared to contribute to a determined Rams response on defense.

Donald soon had his first sack and Burrow took seven in all, tying Roger Staubach's Super Bowl X record.

Kupp comes up trumps as only option

The reason for backing the Rams pre-game over the Bengals was their wealth of options, as evidenced by Beckham's early TD after a drive in which Kupp carried the ball into Cincinnati territory.

But when Beckham was ruled out, with Higbee and Robert Woods (two of five remaining Rams from their Super Bowl LIII defeat) already sidelined, Stafford turned his focus to Kupp alone.

This year's premier wideout was the target of a game-high 10 pass attempts and reeled in eight of them – another high – for 92 yards and those two decisive TDs.

Cooper Kupp led the injury-hit Los Angeles Rams in a late recovery to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 in Super Bowl LVI at their SoFi Stadium home.

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