The Rams defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 20-17 in Sunday night’s NFC championship game, earning the right to meet the upstart Bengals who, earlier on Sunday, defeated the favored Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in overtime in the AFC title game.
The Rams were tied with the 49ers at 17-17 before scoring with just 1:46 minutes left in the game. Sean McVay is leading the Rams to their second Super Bowl in his five years as head coach of the team. Former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, in his first season with Los Angeles, is heading to his first NFL championship game.
Both McVay and the 49ers Kyle Shanahan were hired in 2017 as head coaches for their respective teams.
The Rams will play the Super Bowl in their home SoFi Stadium, the second consecutive home team to host the championship. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first to do so last year at Raymond James Stadium.
The upstart Bengals were the underdogs against the Chiefs in the first half of their game, but came back in the second half to tie the game and then win it with a a field goal in overtime.
Led by second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals ended the Chiefs’ chance to play in the Super Bowl for a third straight year.
Now the Ohio team is on its way to its first Super Bowl since 1989.
The Chiefs took an early lead in the first quarter, and appeared on their way to a rout of the Bengals, at one point leading 21-3 toward the end of the second quarter.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was in fine form, and the team’s offense played an almost perfect first half, cheered on by a raucous home crowd at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
But the Chiefs would go on to blow a 21-3 lead. The Bengals scored a touchdown in the waning minutes of the first half, making the score 21-10, and made a strong defensive stop as the half ended.
The Bengals opened the third quarter with two strong defensive stops against Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense, followed by a field goal to make the score 21-13. Then, after a Chiefs turnover, the Bengals tied the game with a touchdown and a two-point conversion as the third quarter came to an end.
However, the Chiefs came back at the end of regulation, tying the game on a Harrison Butker field goal, setting up the third AFC title game in NFL history to go into overtime.
The Chiefs won the coin toss in overtime, but Mahomes was intercepted on his team’s first possession. That set up a Bengals’ field goal to win the game.
The Bengals have never won a Super Bowl, and it will be head coach Zac Taylor’s first time as head coach of a Super Bowl team. Taylor was the quarterbacks’ coach for the Los Angeles Rams when they appeared in Super Bowl LIII.