How the Rams came back to beat the Bengals in the Super Bowl: A defensive adjustment, inevitable Cooper Kupp and star performances

In the end, the stars took over in Super Bowl LVI. Reeling after losing Odell Beckham Jr. to a knee injury and a disastrous start to the second half, the Los Angeles Rams were seemingly becoming the latest team to fall victim to the Cincinnati Bengals' playoff formula.

The Bengals were flummoxing the high-profile Rams offense, creating takeaways on defense, picking up big plays from their star receivers and mixing in field goals in the red zone. The fingerprints of those postseason wins over the Titans and Chiefs were easily identifiable as the Bengals went ahead in Inglewood, California.

Then, with the all-in team on its way out, the Rams' two best players took over. First, Aaron Donald helped shut down the Cincinnati offense, which followed a 75-yard touchdown to start the third quarter by producing a total of five first downs on its final six possessions. With the Rams stalled on offense as well, Cooper Kupp was unstoppable on the final drive. Imports Von Miller and Matthew Stafford each played key roles alongside their star teammates, but the Rams pulled themselves out of a Super Bowl ditch and won their first championship of the Sean McVay era by riding their superstars to glory:

Jump to a section:
How the Rams' defense took over
The Stafford-to-Kupp connection
Why the Bengals almost won anyway
L.A.'s running game was downright awful
Did the officiating really matter?
What's next for the Rams

The defensive adjustment that won the Super Bowl