A Look at the Rams’ Comeback to Reach the Super Bowl

By  //  February 8, 2022

When the final whistle blew to end Super Bowl LIII, and the New England Patriots were crowned champions of the lowest scoring game in the competition’s history, it was hard for the Los Angeles Rams to remain magnanimous in defeat.

Abject grief descended on the faces of those fans — despite all the anticipation that their rehomed franchise would deliver, the project took an early dent as Tom Brady’s side were just too good on the night.

Two years later, and the Rams are back — carrying the grief they endured on that night in Atlanta, coach Sean McVay will want to spare any blushes this time round as they come into the Super Bowl heavily favoured against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The two time finalists, who have never seen their side lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy, are riding the crest of a wave, but approach murky waters on their underdog venture, coming up against a Rams side who many that bet on NFL will tip to be victorious.

As great of a story as the Bengals’ run has been, you get the sense that this Rams side simply has too much quality to make the same mistake 2020 champions Kansas City Chiefs did in the playoffs.

It will be difficult for the Ohio franchise to emulate that kind of performance again and a capitulation redolent of Patrick Mahomes in the second half on such a big stage is extremely unlikely to be replicated.

If the Rams show the spirit and determination they did against the San Francisco 49ers, the result should take care of itself at their home stadium.

Indeed, it was the 49ers who beat the Bengals in their two other Super Bowl appearance in the 1980s, and up until the fourth quarter it was looking like the sides would be in for a third reunion 34 years later.

However, the Rams roster pulled together and produced an emphatic comeback akin to a sports movie. Star players Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford reinstalled the belief to overturn a 17-7 deficit.

There was a lot of pressure for Stafford to deliver since NFL draft tips had such high expectations, but the quarterback passed all tests with flying colours, as the Rams won 20-17, with a seven-yard catch sending the supporters into delirium. 

The performance certainly wasn’t without its flaws, and plenty of things will need to be padded out before the Super Bowl. Troy Reeder was a liability in midfield and if the Bengals continue to be strong defensively, frustration could grow as demonstrated in their 2019 defeat.

To only register three points at a Super Bowl is poor and something McVay will want to iron out from the word go, as the young coach enters his second showpiece event far more experienced this time around. 

“I think it’s just experience. I think being able to learn from all those other things that have occurred. If you really work hard at something, I think you give yourself a chance to get better,” McVay said. 

“But I also realise it’s about being surrounded by great people. We got great players. We got really good coaches. But I just think that experience that you accumulate – both the good and the bad – and use it as learning opportunities, and making sure that you try to do everything in your power to put our players in the right position, structure the week and practices and the game plans in a manner that’s reflective of accentuating these player skill sets, letting them go out and play with the quieted mind. But the experience thing I would say is the biggest difference.”