The Super Bowl Stage is Set

January 31, 2022 The Super Bowl Stage is Set

By: Carlos Alvarez

Bengals & Rams Make Double-Digit Comebacks, Punch Tickets to Super Bowl LVI

The Super Bowl LVI stage is officially set! It’s Bengals-Rams for the Lombardi Trophy after a wild Sunday in the Championship rounds. Cincinnati stunned the Chiefs with a comeback and an overtime win. The Rams used a comeback to top the 49ers in another three-point victory. And for the second straight year — and the second time ever — a team will play in the Super Bowl hosted in their home city. Wild. Here’s how we got here:


AFC: Bengals def. Chiefs (27-24, OT)

It had been 30 years since the Bengals won a playoff game and 34 years since they went to the Super Bowl, but second-year QB Joe Burrow has ended the drought. The Bengals trailed the Chiefs 21-3 in the first half at Kansas City before Burrow engineered a comeback. Cincy scored 21 unanswered to take a 24-21 lead, but Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker buried a 44-yarder to send it into overtime. The Chiefs won the coin toss in OT, but QB Patrick Mahomes threw an interception on the opening possession. Burrow and the Bengals marched down to set up a 32-yard chip-shot for kicker Evan McPherson — the hero of the Divisional Round. He drilled it. Cincinnati is Super Bowl bound for the first time since 1988.


Top Performers

QB Joe Burrow (CIN): 23/38, 250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

QB Patrick Mahomes (KC): 26/39, 275 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs

RB Joe Mixon (CIN): 24 touches, 115 yards

TE Travis Kelce (KC): 10 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD

WR Tee Higgins (CIN): 6 receptions, 103 yards

K Evan McPherson (CIN): 4/4, Long: 52 yards


NFC: Rams def. 49ers (20-17)

The second game of Championship Sunday featured another double-digit comeback, this time by the home team. The 49ers jumped out to a 17-7 lead through three quarters, but the Rams stepped it up in the 4th. The duo of QB Matthew Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp connected for their second touchdown to pull the game within a field goal. After a quick stop, the Rams set up the game-tying kick with less than seven minutes to play. Another defensive stop led to a three-and-out with great field position for L.A., and Matt Gay’s go-ahead field goal from 40 yards put the Rams in front with 1:46 to play. On San Francisco’s final possession, they ran two plays for negative-3 yards before QB Jimmy Garoppolo was picked off by Travian Howard. Ball game, Rams. It’s Stafford’s first trip to the Super Bowl, and L.A. will host SBLVI at SoFi Stadium.


Top Performers

QB Matthew Stafford (LAR): 31/45, 337 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

QB Jimmy Garoppolo (SF): 16/30, 232 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

WR Cooper Kupp (LAR): 11 receptions, 142 yards, 2 TDs

WR Odell Beckham Jr. (LAR):  9 receptions, 113 yards

WR Deebo Samuel (SF): 11 touches, 98 yards, 1 TD


Super Bowl LIV

Bengals vs. Rams

Sunday, Feb. 13 (6:00 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

ESPN: Sportsbooks Install Rams as 3.5-Point Favorites in SBLVI

B/R: Joe Burrow’s Superstar Status Cemented in Historic AFC Championship Comeback

SI: Conference Championship Takeaways: Rams Claw Back, Burrow Magic, Mahomes Disappears


Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images