Rams show resilience in Super Bowl win

INGLEWOOD (News4usonline) – The thing about the Los Angeles Rams winning Super Bowl LVI with a hard-fought 23-20 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals is that this was nothing new to them. Sean McVay and his ballclub had to battle all season to finally get to the mountaintop of the National Football League (NFL) as champions.

“I can’t say enough about the resilience of this team,” said McVay. “Guys stepping up when they had to and it’s going to sound like a broken record, but that’s what makes this team great. That’s why they’re world champs. Our best players stepped up in the most crucial and critical moments. You end up losing some guys and guys were asked to step up.”

“I just can’t say enough about how much I love this group,” McVay added. “They play for one another. There’s something really powerful about being a part of something bigger than yourself and you can see that in the way these guys competed.”

February 13,2022. Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) tries to avoid several Los Angeles Rams defenders on his way to a big gain in Super Bowl LVI. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline

This would be a ride that featured a lot of highs and quite a few lows. The journey to being Super Bowl champs arrived with preseason expectations and the star billing envelope that came with it. When the Rams traded Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, almost immediately the Rams were thought to be favored to win it all.

That’s why they play the game. Nothing was given to the Rams. Nothing was easy. There was longtime wide receiver Robert Woods Jr. going down with a season-ending injury. Besides Stafford, the Rams also welcomed Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller to their family.

“I was just telling guys this is football heaven,” Miller said he told his teammates in a pregame speech. “Put maximum effort. Pressure is a privilege. To be here, to feel pressure, to feel nerves, that’s what it’s all about. Don’t flinch, don’t blink. And I think the guys did that from the coaching staff, from the trainers, from the equipment guys. Everybody that was involved, we didn’t flinch. We just kept fighting, we got a team full of fighters. It feels good to go out there and do it, man.”

While the star wattage was evident with Beckham and Miller joining the team, the blending of the two mercurial superstars into the Rams’ locker room would require absolving of perceptions and coming together as a single unit. Then there was the zero for November debacle in which the Rams did not win a single game.

February 13, 2022. Looking for running room. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline

The whispers about too many stars being on one team began to float around in the media. And that’s not to mention McVay, the Rams and the entire organization had to bob and weave through the Covid-19 pandemic in order to make safety a priority for players and team staff.

You might come to the conclusion that the Rams, by the time they lined up against the Bengals, were already battle-tested.

Let’s start with Stafford. After spending the first 12 years of his career playing in the last frontier for the Detroit Lions, Stafford got a reprieve when the Rams traded for him last year. He rewarded McVay and the Rams with 41 passing touchdowns and 4,886 yards in his first season with Los Angeles.

Regarding play on the football field, the Rams went on to put their November headache behind them by winning five in a row in the month of December. Though they would win the NFC West, the Rams had to earn their keep in the postseason.

That meant beating the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the San Francisco 49ers, all in that order. The Rams would take down all three teams. Against the Bucs and Niners, the Rams had pulled off the win late. Almost to a tee, the Rams opened that playbook against the Bengals, wasting a 13-3 lead before rallying to win Super Bowl LVI.

February 13, 2022. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) completed 26 of 40 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns in Super Bowl LVI. The Rams defeated the Bengals, 23-20. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline

“This is just a long time coming for a lot of guys, you know, this is Andrew Whitworth, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, so many great players, Robert Woods on our team, Cooper, so many guys that I could name who just deserve this from the way they go to work every single day, from the way they care about each other as teammates and people. Just so happy to get it done for those guys,” Stafford said.

The grit and mettle it took the Rams to win the championship was reflective of how the team played down the stretch of their season, including the playoffs. Including the postseason, the Rams won seven of their last nine games by 10 points or less.

And when they needed it, the Rams got the big plays from their top three players in Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald. It was Stafford and Kupp hooking up late in the game for the go-ahead touchdown. Donald finished the game off by forcing Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow into an errant throw on fourth down.

The Rams sacked Burrow seven times. After the game, Donald said he got some inspiration from McVay.

“He told me that when I got to the sideline,” Donald said. “You have to be relentless. You want something bad enough, you go get it. 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 relentless, showing up when you need to. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games.”