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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Super Bowl Ahead: Bengals vs. Rams, who will lead the game


Two years ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in the NFL. Now they’re heading to the Super Bowl to play the Los Angeles Rams at the Rams’ home stadium.

Corresponding to the biggest comeback in an AFC championship game, the Bengals rallied from the 18-point hole to stun Kansas City 27-24 in overtime on Sunday, their first trip to a big game since the 1988 season. The team, which won just two games in 2019, giving them the top pick they used on quarterback Joe Burrow, pretty much dominated the Chiefs after the first quarter.

Rookie Evan McPherson hit 31 yards from the field and won.

The Rams then closed a 10-point gap in the second half to capture the NFC crown with a 20–17 win over San Francisco when Matt Gaye hit a 30-yard field goal with 1:46 left. Los Angeles (15-5) lost six times in a row to the 49ers (12-8), but the guests could not slow down All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Safe Jakiski Tartt threw a definite interception in the fourth quarter to help Los Angeles equalize.

Kupp finished with 11 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.


In a tough physical game, also highlighted by several clutch plays from Kupp and fellow 49ers All-Pro Deebo Samuel, Matthew Stafford went 31 of 45 for 337 yards passing to get to his first Super Bowl. The Rams got there in the 2018 season but lost to New England.

“We have another one at home, let’s do it,” said Stafford.

Samuel finished with four receptions for 72 yards for 44 yards. He ran another 26 yards.

The Rams have gone 1–3 in the previous four Super Bowls; the only win came in the 1999 season when they were based in St. Louis.

Los Angeles is the 3 1/2 favorite according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

“I’m happy to be part of this team, with this group of guys, with this coaching staff,” added Stafford, who spent his first dozen NFL seasons in Detroit. “You can’t write a better story. I have no words. I just enjoy playing with these guys…”


The Bengals (13-7) reached their third Super Bowl; they lost to the 49ers in 1982 and 1989. Kansas City (14-6) hosted their fourth consecutive AFC Championship and they are 2-2. Two years ago, the Chiefs won the NFL title.

Cincinnati, the winner of the AFC North, had not won a postseason game since 1991 before beating Las Vegas and then for the first time in franchise history had a playoff road victory when they eliminated top-seeded Tennessee. The AFC West champion Chiefs thrashed Pittsburgh before winning a classic against Buffalo in overtime to advance to their fourth straight conference title game.

“We were a second-half team all year,” said Barrow, who missed six games as a rookie with a knee injury. “You don’t really want to be like that, but it just so happened. Our defense really stepped up in the second half, and in attack we played when needed. … It was just great teamwork.”

On Sunday, Barrow pulled them back and McPherson, like a 10-year veteran, hit four field goals in the game, including the game-winning goal from Vaughn Bell’s interception of Patrick Mahomes in the first overtime series, and Cincinnati got the ball.

“We are made for this moment. We never give up,” Bell said. “Never stop fighting. We are a stable group.”

Another 18-point rally in the AFC Championship game came in the 2006 season when Indianapolis beat New England 36–34. Burrow can point out that Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were the quarterbacks in this competition.

“We’ve run a big deficit this year,” coach Zach Taylor said. “We always believe in all three stages. Everyone got up. We haven’t finished yet.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://apnews.com/hub/pro-32 and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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