NFL Championships: Bengals, Rams head to Super Bowl LVI
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles will welcome the Cincinnati Bengals in two weeks for Super Bowl 56 in Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s multibillion-dollar SoFi Stadium.
After 54 consecutive Super Bowls without an NFL team playing in its home stadium, the Rams are the second team to do it in two seasons after Tampa Bay broke the streak last year.
The Rams won their second conference title in the past four years under coach Sean McVay and moved one step from the franchise’s second championship in the Super Bowl era. Perhaps even more impressively, Los Angeles finally snapped a six-game losing streak against its San Francisco archrivals, who secured their playoff berth with an overtime comeback victory in Inglewood just three weeks ago.
Deebo Samuel and George Kittle caught touchdown passes from Garoppolo, who passed for 232 yards in a heartbreaker for the 49ers (12-8). Coach Kyle Shanahan punted twice from the Rams’ half of the field and a third time from the 50, and that caution likely ended up costing San Francisco.
Matching the biggest comeback in an AFC championship game, the Bengals rallied from an 18-point hole to stun Kansas City 27-24 in overtime Sunday for their first trip to the big game since the 1988 season. The team that won only two games two years ago, earning them the top overall draft pick that they used on quarterback Joe Burrow, pretty much dominated the Chiefs after the first quarter.
Rookie Evan McPherson made a 31-yard field goal to win it.
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Cincinnati, winner of the AFC North, hadn’t won a postseason game since 1991 before beating Las Vegas, then earned a road victory in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history when it eliminated top-seeded Tennessee. The AFC West champion Chiefs routed Pittsburgh and then won a classic in overtime against Buffalo to get to their fourth consecutive conference title game.
On Sunday, Burrow led them back and McPherson, making like a 10-year veteran, kicked four field goals in the game, including the winner after Vonn Bell’s interception of Patrick Mahomes on the opening series of overtime got Cincinnati the ball.
"We’ve been a second-half team all year," said Burrow, who missed six games in 2020 with a knee injury. "You don’t really want to be that way, but that’s kind of how it’s worked out. Our defense really stepped up in the second half and on offense we made plays when we had to. ... It was just a great overall team effort."
Super Bowl LVI is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
This story is developing. Check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed.