Rams top Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI

Rapper Eminem took a knee as superstars of hip-hop performed a high-energy halftime show at Sunday's Super Bowl.

A general overall aerial view of the Super Bowl LVI Experience at the Los Angeles Convention Center and downtown skyline, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Feb 9, 2022. (photo credit: KIRBY LEE-USA TODAY SPORTS)
A general overall aerial view of the Super Bowl LVI Experience at the Los Angeles Convention Center and downtown skyline, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Feb 9, 2022.
(photo credit: KIRBY LEE-USA TODAY SPORTS)

The hometown Los Angeles Rams came from behind to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in a thrilling Super Bowl on Sunday, claiming the franchise's first championship since returning to Los Angeles, and its second overall.

With the victory, the Rams, whose last NFL title came 22 years ago when they were based in St. Louis, joined last year's Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the only teams to win a Super Bowl on their home field.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford kept his poise to put together a 15-play drive that ended with a short touchdown pass to Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp with 1:25 left to play, and Aaron Donald wrapped up Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, sealing the win.

"I dreamed this, man," an emotional Donald said after the game. "I feel amazing."

The Rams lost star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a knee injury in the second quarter and gave up a 13-10 halftime lead, but rallied to deliver Los Angeles its Hollywood ending under the lights of SoFi Stadium.

"I'm so proud of this team, so many guys on our team deserve this, guys that have given their heart and soul to this team," said Stafford, who joined the team from Detroit last offseason.

"That game today is the story of this season, it's up and down, it's tough but we got it done," he said.

Super Bowl LVI numerals are seen at SoFi Stadium seen during the NFL Honors awards presentation, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Feb 10, 2022. (credit: KIRBY LEE-USA TODAY SPORTS)Super Bowl LVI numerals are seen at SoFi Stadium seen during the NFL Honors awards presentation, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Feb 10, 2022. (credit: KIRBY LEE-USA TODAY SPORTS)

Kupp was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl after catching two touchdown passes during his team's 23-20 victory on Sunday.

With his team trailing late in the game, Kupp came to the rescue in a 79-yard drive during which he converted a fourth down and caught four passes, including the game-winning touchdown with 85 seconds left.

Kupp's first score of the game came early in the second quarter, when quarterback Matthew Stafford found him in the back right corner of the end zone to put the Rams ahead 13-3.

The 28-year-old Kupp's performance, which saw him catch 8 of 10 targets for 92 yards, was made even more impressive given an injury to Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the second quarter that allowed the Bengals secondary to double-team him.

Los Angeles-area natives Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre united for "California Love," surprise guest 50 Cent hung upside down and rapper Eminem took a knee as superstars of hip-hop performed a high-energy halftime show at Sunday's Super Bowl.

The star-packed lineup, also featuring R&B star Mary J. Blige and rapper Kendrick Lamar, made hip-hop the focus of the halftime extravaganza, a platform that draws the world's top musical acts.

At SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles, the musicians sang a medley of hits and traversed the roofs and interiors of a row of white buildings assembled on the football field.

Eminem ended his hit "Lose Yourself" by kneeling and placing his head in his hand, a gesture that former quarterback Colin Kaepernick made during the National Anthem at NFL games as a call for racial justice.

Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season as no NFL team hired him after he began kneeling.

Media outlet Puck reported earlier on Sunday that the NFL had told Eminem not to kneel during the performance. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the report was untrue. NFL staff watched halftime rehearsals this week and the kneeling was included at that time, he said.

Dre and Snoop Dogg opened the show with "The Next Episode" and "California Love." Rapper 50 Cent, an unannounced guest, began rapping "In Da Club" while suspended from a ceiling upside down.

Wearing a sequined white outfit with thigh-high boots, Blige performed "Family Affair" in front of a sparkling group of backup dancers.

Before the show, Dre and Snoop Dogg said that the NFL should have embraced rap years ago and they hoped to open doors for more hip-hop artists. Rap musicians have appeared previously but alongside pop and rock acts.

"THE GREATEST HALFTIME SHOW IVE EVER SEEN!!!" Los Angeles Lakers basketball star LeBron James, who was seated in the crowd, wrote on Twitter.