Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Rams top Bengals 23-20 to win Super Bowl LVI

Matthew Stafford tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp with 1:25 remaining to give the Los Angeles Rams a 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday at Inglewood, Calif.

Stafford’s third touchdown throw and Kupp’s second scoring catch of the game capped a dramatic 15-play, 79-yard drive. Stafford completed 26 of 40 passes for 283 yards and two interceptions while Kupp caught eight passes for 92 yards.

Aaron Donald recorded two of Los Angeles’ seven sacks and pressured Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow to force a desperate fourth-down incompletion with 39 seconds to play. The Rams ran out the clock to earn their second Super Bowl crown — the other coming in St. Louis following the 1999 season.

Burrow was 22-of-33 passing for 263 yards and running back Joe Mixon rushed for 72 yards and threw a touchdown pass on a trick play for the Bengals. Tee Higgins caught four passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati made a stunning run to the title game but is now 0-3 in Super Bowls, having lost to the San Francisco 49ers in appearances following the 1981 and 1988 seasons. The Bengals won just six games over the previous two seasons.

Kupp set a postseason record with 33 receptions, breaking the mark of 31 set last season by Kansas City’s Travis Kelce. Von Miller also had two sacks for Los Angeles.

Odell Beckham Jr. also caught a touchdown pass for the Rams before exiting the game in the second quarter due to a left knee injury.

Cincinnati moved ahead for the first time at 17-13 on the first offensive play of the third quarter when Burrow and Higgins connected on a 75-yard touchdown pass. Higgins and Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey were mixed up, with Higgins appearing to twist Ramsey’s facemask. Ramsey fell to the ground while Higgins made the grab and ran the remaining 35 yards for the score.

On the Rams’ next play from scrimmage, Cincinnati’s Chidobe Awuzie notched an interception of a Stafford pass that caromed off the arms of Ben Skowronek, who was in the game due to Beckham’s injury. The Bengals took over at the Los Angeles 31-yard line and eventually grew the lead to seven with Evan McPherson’s 38-yard field goal.

The Rams cut their deficit to 20-16 when Matt Gay booted a 41-yard field with 5:58 left in the quarter.

Stafford threw two first-half touchdown passes as the Rams held a 13-10 lead at intermission.

Los Angeles struck first when Stafford connected on a 17-yard scoring pass to Beckham with 6:22 remaining in the first quarter.

Cincinnati got on the board with McPherson’s 29-yard field goal with 28 seconds to go in the opening period.

The Rams increased their lead to 13-3 when Stafford tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kupp in the right corner of the end zone with 12:51 left in the half. The score was set up by consecutive pass plays of 35 yards to Beckham and 25 to Darrell Henderson Jr.

The extra point failed when holder Johnny Hekker was unable to get the ball down cleanly.

The Bengals answered with a solid 12-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:04. It culminated when Mixon threw a pass for the first time in his five-year NFL career and hit Higgins for a 6-yard score with 5:47 remaining in the half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) runs back an interception in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions  at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Rams’ COVID outlook improves after CB Jalen Ramsey activated

The Los Angeles Rams’ COVID-19 situation at least looks a little brighter Sunday after the team activated star cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Rams’ outbreak, which began last week, forced their home game Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks to be moved to Tuesday night. Ramsey will be available to play in that game.

Also Sunday, the Rams restored defensive back Grant Haley to the practice squad and designated running back Jake Funk for return.

The moves get the Rams down to 23 players currently unavailable due to COVID-19, down from a high of 29 players unavailable earlier last week. Among the players take off the list Saturday were wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Darrell Henderson.

“Very excited to be able to get Jalen back,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We know how important he is to our team from a leadership perspective and then a production perspective on the field, so that’s really big to be able to get him back.”

The list of unavailable players still includes notable contributors such as safety Jordan Fuller, tackle Rob Havenstein, linebacker Von Miller and tight end Tyler Higbee.

Ramsey, 27, has 59 tackles and three interceptions in 12 games this season, while often lined up against opponents’ top wide receiver.

With Fuller still out, his play-calling duties could fall to Ramsey, as the Rams (9-4) face the Seahawks while trailing the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals by a half game.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford leads Rams to easy win over Jaguars

Matthew Stafford completed 26 of 38 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, and the Los Angeles Rams cruised to a 37-7 win over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Cooper Kupp had eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles (8-4), which snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time since Oct. 31. Sony Michel had 24 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown to lead the Rams on the ground.

Trevor Lawrence completed 16 of 28 passes for 145 yards for Jacksonville (2-10). Carlos Hyde scored a rushing touchdown for the Jaguars, who have lost four straight games.

The Rams outgained the Jaguars 418-197 and controlled time of possession 33:45 to 26:15.

Los Angeles quickly set the tone by establishing a 10-0 advantage in the game’s first five minutes.

After Rams kicker Matt Gay opened the scoring with a 40-yard field goal, the team’s defense took hold. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald forced a fumble against Jaguars running back James Robinson, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey recovered the ball and returned it 8 yards to the Jacksonville 27.

Michel scored three plays later on a 5-yard run for his second rushing touchdown of the season.

The Jaguars pulled within 10-7 on Hyde’s 1-yard rushing score with 13:23 left in the second quarter. Hyde’s touchdown capped a 13-play, 73-yard drive.

Gay made two more field goals to give the Rams a 16-7 advantage at the half.

Los Angeles put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Kupp hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Stafford with 11:43 to go, and Van Jefferson snagged a 2-yard touchdown pass with 3:27 left.

The Rams increased their advantage to 37-7 early in the fourth quarter when Odell Beckham Jr. grabbed a 1-yard touchdown pass from Stafford. It was Beckham’s second touchdown in as many weeks with the Rams, who signed the wideout on Nov. 11 after he was released by the Cleveland Browns.

Los Angeles improved to 4-2 at home. The Jaguars dropped to 0-5 on the road.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Herbert guides Chargers to win over Bengals

Justin Herbert threw all three of his touchdown passes in the first half and the visiting Los Angeles Chargers survived a late scare to earn a 41-22 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Keenan Allen caught two TD passes from Herbert in the first quarter alone as the Chargers (7-5) rebounded from a road defeat at Denver last week. Herbert was 26 of 35 for 317 yards with an interception.

Los Angeles overcame two fumbles from Austin Ekeler but wedged some late breathing room on a Cincinnati turnover. The Chargers’ Tevaughn Campbell returned a fumble by Joe Mixon 61 yards for a TD and a 31-22 lead with 13:43 remaining.

The Chargers’ 16 points in the first quarter were their most since September 2012. They lost star defensive end Joey Bosa in the first quarter to a head injury.

Joe Burrow was 24 of 40 for 300 yards with one TD and two interceptions for Cincinnati (7-5), while playing with a swollen right pinky finger. Mixon had 54 yards rushing on 19 carries with a TD, finding the end zone in his ninth consecutive game.

The Chargers hit the scoreboard first when Allen caught a 4-yard TD pass from Herbert just 3:29 into the game. Dustin Hopkins missed the extra point, but his 43-yard field goal with 6:33 remaining in the quarter gave Los Angeles a 9-0 advantage.

The Chargers made it 16-0 with 1:36 left in the opening quarter when Allen caught a 7-yard TD pass to cap a five-play, 73-yard drive.

When Los Angeles’ Jalen Guyton caught a 44-yard TD pass from Herbert less than five minutes into the second quarter, the Chargers had a 24-0 lead.

The Bengals’ comeback began midway through the second quarter when Tee Higgins caught a 29-yard TD pass from Burrow. Higgins had nine catches for 138 yards. A 6-yard TD run from Burrow with 2:40 remaining in the half pulled Cincinnati to within 24-13. That drive began after an Ekeler fumble.

The Bengals’ Evan McPherson made a 48-yard field goal 5:03 into the third quarter, and Mixon scored on a 7-yard run with 7:10 left in the third after another Ekeler fumble. Cincinnati tried a two-point conversion that would have tied the game at 24-all, but Mixon was stopped on a run to the right side.

Los Angeles got a 1-yard TD run from Ekeler and a Hopkins field goal in the final 10:49 of the game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon (28) is tackled by Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Packers improve to 9-3 with win over Rams

Aaron Rodgers threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers solidified their spot near the top of the NFC standings with a 36-28 victory Sunday over the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

Davante Adams had eight receptions for 104 yards as the Packers (9-3) turned three Rams turnovers into 17 points and took control on Rasul Douglas’ 33-yard interception return for a touchdown to take a 36-17 lead late in the third quarter.

Rodgers was 28-of-45 passing while playing for the second consecutive game with a fractured toe as the Packers moved a half-game behind the Arizona Cardinals in the battle for first place in the NFC. Teammate AJ Dillon had 69 yards rushing on 20 carries.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was 21-of-38 for 302 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown for the third consecutive game, all defeats for Los Angeles (7-4).

Odell Beckham Jr. had a 54-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter while playing his second game since joining the Rams after he was waived by the Cleveland Browns.

Leading 20-17 at halftime, the Packers got a 5-yard TD reception from AJ Dillon and a 29-yard field goal from Mason Crosby for a 30-17 lead after a lost fumble by Rams punt returner J.J. Koski. Douglas’ interception return made it a three-score game with more than a quarter remaining.

The Rams nearly buried themselves in the first quarter. The Packers took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Rodgers after Green Bay took over on the Rams’ 6-yard line when Green Bay’s Rashan Gary forced Stafford to fumble.

On their next possession, the Rams tried to convert on fourth down, only to give the Packers the ball back at the 29-yard line. Crosby made it 10-0 on a 45-yard field goal with 13:29 remaining in the half.

The Rams got their offense on track when Stafford hit Van Jefferson on a 79-yard touchdown pass with 12:42 remaining in the half before a 28-yard field goal from Crosby put Green Bay up 13-7.

Randall Cobb’s 7-yard TD reception put Green Bay ahead 20-10 with 4:21 to go before halftime. Less than three minutes later, the Rams made it 20-17 on a 6-yard TD pass from Stafford to Darrell Henderson.

Cobb, who had four catches for 95 yards, did not return after halftime because of a groin injury.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: NFL, St. Louis reach $790M settlement on Rams’ relocation

The NFL and the Rams have agreed to pay $790 million to the city of St. Louis to settle a 2017 lawsuit over the team’s move to Los Angeles, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the agreement does not include an expansion team for St. Louis.

It was not immediately clear how much of the settlement will be paid by the league and how much by Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who relocated the team in 2016.

St. Louis city and county officials were expected to make an official announcement on Wednesday.

Attorneys for Kroenke and the NFL were in St. Louis for a mediation session on Tuesday with lawyers representing St. Louis, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority.

The lawsuit claimed that the NFL broke its own relocation guidelines and that the Rams misled the public on their plans to leave the city, costing St. Louis millions in revenue.

A trial date had been set for Jan. 10.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) walks on the field during warmups before the game against the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Odell Beckham Jr. will play vs. 49ers

Odell Beckham Jr. will make his debut for the Los Angeles Rams when they take on the San Francisco 49ers on the road Monday, ESPN reported.

Beckham appeared in six games this season and recorded 17 receptions for 232 yards before the Cleveland Browns released him.

Rams coach Sean McVay didn’t confirm Beckham’s status when he talked to reporters Saturday.

“I can see he’s a really sharp guy,” McVay said of Beckham. “We hven’t practiced yet today, but I like the look in his eye. We’ll see how he’s feeling, and we’ll see what that looks like as far as how we are able to utilize him, if he’s able to go on Monday.”

His presence in the lineup was only going to be a matter of time after the Rams (7-2) signed the veteran wideout Friday, but the sense of urgency grew when wide receiver Robert Woods sustained a torn ACL at practice the same day.

Woods, 29, has 45 receptions for 556 yards and four touchdowns — second to Cooper Kupp in all three categories — in nine games this season.

He has 570 catches for 7,077 yards and 35 touchdowns in 125 career games (115 starts) with the Buffalo Bills and Rams. He was selected by the Bills in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Southern California.

Beckham, 29, was traded in 2019 by the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns, who agreed Nov. 5 to waive him following a social media post from Beckham’s father criticizing quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Browns and Beckham came to terms on a reworked contract before placing him on waivers.

A first-round draft pick in 2014, Beckham appeared in 88 games (84 starts) for the Giants and Browns. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 504 career receptions for 7,062 yards and 51 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers convert game-winning FG to get by Eagles

Dustin Hopkins made a 29-yard field goal with two seconds remaining to give the visiting Los Angeles Chargers a 27-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Hopkins’ game-winner completed a 15-play, 64-yard drive. Justin Herbert threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for Los Angeles’ other touchdown. Keenan Allen caught 12 passes for 104 yards while Austin Ekeler rushed for 59 yards and also caught three passes for the Chargers (5-3).

Jalen Hurts threw for 162 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (3-6). Hurts also rushed for 62 yards and Jordan Howard had 71 rushing yards and a touchdown. DeVonta Smith hauled in five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles led 10-7 at halftime.

The Chargers drove 98 yards on their first possession but came up empty. Starting from their own 1-yard line, they ran off 15 plays but turned the ball over on downs at Philadelphia’s 1.

After forcing a three-and-out, Los Angeles found the end zone. Jared Cook’s 23-yard reception set up Herbert’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Anderson.

Philadelphia tied it with a 75-yard drive, which Howard finished off with a 4-yard run. Smith’s 27-yard reception was the longest play during that possession.

The Eagles had a 68-yard drive late in the half but settled for Jake Elliott’s 24-yard field goal.

Hopkins’ 30-yard field goal early in the third tied the game. Herbert’s 8-yard scoring pass to Donald Parham gave the Chargers a 16-10 lead but the extra point was missed.

Philadelphia regained the lead on an 85-yard drive that Kenneth Gainwell completed with a 1-yard run. Hurts completed three passes of 19 yards or more during that span.

Los Angeles regained the lead with 11:32 remaining on Herbert’s 8-yard run. He also tossed a two-point conversion to Cook for a 24-17 lead.

Hurts’ 28-yard pass to Smith with 6:07 remaining tied it up. Hurts picked up first downs with his legs twice during the drive.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) moves out to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray, Cardinals cruise past Rams

Led by Kyler Murray and an explosive offense, the Arizona Cardinals manhandled the Los Angeles Rams 37-20 on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.

The victory was the first for the Cardinals over an L.A. team led by coach Sean McVay after enduring eight straight losses, and the first victory for Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury over good friend McVay.

The Cardinals improved to 4-0 with the win, while the Rams dropped to 3-1.

Murray finished 24-of-32 for 268 passing yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 39 rushing yards. Murray’s top targets were DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green, both of whom recorded 67 receiving yards.

Chase Edmonds led Arizona with 120 rushing yards on 12 carries as the Cardinals finished with 216 yards rushing.

The Cardinals carved up L.A.’s usually stingy defense for 37 points and 465 total yards.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford finished 26-of-41 for 280 passing yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Stafford’s favorite target, Cooper Kupp, finished with five receptions for 64 yards on 13 targets as the two had trouble connecting.

Returning from a rib injury, Darrell Henderson Jr. led the Rams with 89 rushing yards.

The Rams got on the scoreboard first, driving 52 yards on nine plays, ending in a Matt Gay 42-yard field goal.

After forcing Arizona to punt, Stafford was intercepted by Arizona defensive back Byron Murphy trying to hit DeSean Jackson on a deep ball. Murphy later had to leave the game with a rib injury.

The Cardinals took over on their own 13-yard line. Six plays later, Murray hit Green for a 41-yard pass for a score, giving Arizona a 7-3 lead with 5:58 left in the opening quarter.

The Rams responded with a touchdown drive of their own, marching 75 yards on nine plays capped by a Stafford 14-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson for a 10-7 edge.

The Cardinals retook the lead for good 14-10 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Murray to tight end Maxx Williams with 10:44 left in the first half.

Arizona upped its lead to 21-10, capitalizing on a Sony Michel fumble by driving 21 yards on five plays, with James Conner plunging into the end zone from a yard out for the score at the 8:44 mark of the second quarter.

L.A. cut Arizona’s edge to 21-13 on a Gay 22-yard field goal with a little over three minutes left in the first half. However, the Cardinals took a 24-13 lead into halftime on a Matt Prater 23-yard field goal.

Arizona cruised to a commanding, 37-13 lead in the second half on 55- and 23-yard field goals by Prater and another Conner 1-yard run for a score, salting away the game in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA;  Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (69) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) as he looks to throw a pass in the first half of the game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford’s four TD passes fuel Rams’ win vs. Bucs

Matthew Stafford threw for four scores as the Los Angeles Rams improved to 3-0 with a 34-24 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFI Stadium on Sunday.

Stafford continued to play well for the Rams since joining Los Angeles in an offseason trade, completing 27 of 38 passes for 343 yards. Stafford’s favorite target was Cooper Kupp, who finished with nine receptions for 96 yards and two scores on 12 targets.

DeSean Jackson added three receptions for 120 yards, including his first touchdown as a Ram – a 75-yard score.

Darrell Henderson Jr. did not play because of a rib issue. However, recent addition Sony Michel served as the primary running back in his place, posting 67 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Tom Brady finished 41 of 55 for 432 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. Sunday’s contest marked the first time Brady played in Los Angeles since the 1998 Rose Bowl as a backup quarterback for the University of Michigan.

But in this one, the Bucs (2-1) had trouble running the football, totaling just 35 yards on the ground, as the defending Super Bowl champs suffered their first loss of the season.

Aaron Donald secured his first career sack against Brady and added three tackles and a forced fumble.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams got on the scoreboard first with tight end Tyler Higbee scoring on a 6-yard screen pass, giving Los Angeles a 7-0 lead at the 12:22 mark of the second quarter. Matthew Stafford went 8-for-8 on the 14-play, 95-yard scoring drive that took over eight minutes.

The Bucs responded with a 15-play, 76-yard drive capped by a Chris Godwin 2-yard run with 4:03 left in the first half, tying the score at 7-all.

On the ensuing drive, the Rams retook the lead on a 2-yard pass from Stafford to Kupp, putting L.A. up 14-7 at halftime. Rams coach Sean McVay improved to 40-0 when holding a lead at halftime.

The Rams pushed their lead to 21-7 on a 75-yard Stafford deep ball to Jackson on the opening drive of the second half.

The Bucs answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a Brady 1-yard plunge for a score, cutting L.A.’s advantage to 21-14.

However, L.A. took control of the game again with a Kupp 10-yard scoring reception and a Matt Gay 48-yard field goal, putting the hosts ahead 31-14.

Tampa Bay answered with a Ryan Succup 26-yard field goal to trim L.A.’s edge to 31-17 and completed the scoring on a Brady-to-Giovani Bernard touchdown pass with 1:10 left in the game.

The Bucs were without Antonio Brown because he was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Tight Rob Gronkowski appeared to suffer a rib injury early in the third quarter after a hit from linebacker Terrell Lewis.

Gronkowski went to the medical tent and then the locker room for further evaluation. He later returned to the game, finishing with four receptions for 55 yards.

–Field Level Media