Politics

Rams v Bengals, halftime show, Odell Beckham injury


Rams quartberacl Matthew Stafford and Bengals QB Joe Burrow.
Rams quartberacl Matthew Stafford and Bengals QB Joe Burrow.

Los Angeles Rams face Cincinnati Bengals in America’s biggest game of the year — Super Bowl 56.

More than 100 million Americans are expected to tune is as Matthew Stafford’s Rams and Joe Burrow’s Bengals do battle in the Super Bowl.

The stunning brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Los Angeles, will host the NFL’s season-ending showpiece.

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Follow all the action from Super Bowl 56 below – all times AEDT – this story will auto update every 60 seconds.

11.41: RAMS STAR’S SUPER BOWL OVER?

Somebody, please check on Drake.

Odell Beckham Junior – who has been enormous throughout the first half, as well as the playoffs in general – has gone down with an apparent injury to his left knee.

It’s the same knee on which he suffered a torn ACL just a year ago.

He leaves the game with 52 yards to his name – and reportedly punched a table on the way to the medical tent – but he’s up and about on the sideline.

We’re less than three minutes away from halftime, so it will be one to ponder during the halftime entertainment.

Odell Beckham Jr is assessed by Rams medical staff. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty
Odell Beckham Jr is assessed by Rams medical staff. Picture: Gregory Shamus/Getty

10.35AM: BENGALS PULL OUT THE CINCY SPECIAL (RAMS 13, BENGALS 10)

Was that… the Cincy Special?

Four years after the Philadelphia Eagles pulled out the ‘Philly Special’ in one of the boldest plays in Super Bowl history – where running back Corey Clement tossed the ball to quarterback Nick Foles to stun the New England Patriots – the young Bengals have pulled off something special of their own.

Instead of Joe Burrow taking the snap, it was running back Joe Mixon and he showed off his arm with a pin point lob to Tee Higgins for the touchdown.

It’s the first pass Mixon has thrown in his five-year NFL career, and came after a confidence-boosting 75-yard drive.

This game has been played at a ridiculous pace, with halftime just six minutes away after little more than an hour of play.

11.20AM: STAFFORD LIGHTING UP THE BENGALS (RAMS 13, BENGALS 3)

The Rams gave up a lot to get Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles – giving up two first round picks to bring the gunslinger across from Detroit.

But this is why.

He’s lighting up the Bengals defence and cementing himself as the shortest of favourites to take home MVP honours today, already chalking up two touchdowns as the Rams surge to a 13-3 lead.

This time, he finds his other superstar receiver – Cooper Kupp – with an 11-yard throw to the back of the end zone.

It came after a 75-yard drive that exploded thanks to another key play from Odell Beckham Junior.

He got on a slant route and landed a big gain for 35 yards – and midway through the second quarter, he has almost cleared the yards he needs to make Drake even MORE money.

Rams QB Matt Stafford is feeding receivers Cooper Kupp (pictured) and Odell Beckham. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty
Rams QB Matt Stafford is feeding receivers Cooper Kupp (pictured) and Odell Beckham. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty

11.11AM: BENGALS ON THE BOARD, RAMS LEAD 7-3

The Bengals are on the scoreboard care of a field goal, and their electric offense has woken up thanks to a remarkable play by young wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

The 21-year-old made a spectacular one-handed grab, despite five-time Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey providing heavy defensive coverage, to finish off a 47-yard gain.

“He is one of the best finishers of catches I think I’ve ever seen,” says Cris Collinsworth in commentary.

“So many times this year (he’s done that) and that is the best. He’s going against Jalen Ramsey and making a play like that.”

Ramsey comes up with a play of his own to deny a touchdown pass to Tee Higgins, forcing the Bengals into a field goal.

10.55AM: ODELL BECKHAM OPENS SUPER BOWL SCORING

The LA Rams have drawn first blood in the Super Bowl – and no one is happier than rap superstar Drake.

Drake has $3.2m riding on the Rams – and star wide recevier Odell Beckham Junior – care of monster bets, and he would’ve been cheering as Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford found Beckham Jnr in the endzone for the first score of the game.

The various bets require the Rams to win outright, and for Beckham to top 62.5 receiving yards and score at least one touchdown.

And when Beckham Jnr saluted just three minutes into the first quarter, Drake was $800,000 richer.

Stafford led the Rams up the field after the opening drives of both teams ended meekly, but the former Detroit Lions stud turned to his star receivers to great effect.

After being given great field position, through a failed fourth-down attempt by the Bengals, a big gain on a pass to Cooper Kupp put the Rams in the red zone and Stafford hit Beckham with a pinpoint throw for a 14-yard gain and the touchdown.

STAT ATTACK: The team that scores first is 36-19 all-time in the Super Bowl, but have lost each of the last 2 games (SF in SB LIV, KC in SB LV).

Odell Beckham Jr. draws first blood for the Rams. Picture: Frederic J. Brown/AFP
Odell Beckham Jr. draws first blood for the Rams. Picture: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

10.40PM: STAR’S SHOCK SUPER BOWL RETIREMENT CALL

In what would be one of the biggest shocks in Super Bowl history, Los Angeles Rams superstar is reportedly considering retirement if he can claim a first ring today.

The eight-time Pro Bowler is already one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, but at 30 years old is well and truly in the prime of his career.

He still has two years to run on a monstrous $187m deal, but that could count for nothing if the Rams can defeat the Cincinatti Bengals today.

Rams defensive star Aaron Donald. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty
Rams defensive star Aaron Donald. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty

NBC’s Rodney Harrison reported ahead of the game that Donald could walk away entirely.

“He’s big on legacy,” Harrison said.

“He doesn’t want to be known as a defender that accomplished so many individual things and never won a Super Bowl. But he also told me this: If he wins a Super Bowl, there’s a strong possibility he could walk away from the game and retire.”

Donald is one of the favourites to be named Super Bowl MVP.

10:33AM: IS THIS A BAD OMEN FOR THE BENGALS?

Don’t look now Cincinnati fans.

The Bengals have won the coin toss, which in most sports would surely be considered a positive start to the biggest game of the year.

But not in the NFL. Well, not today at least.

Incredibly, the past seven coin toss winners have lost the Super Bowl. You have to go all the way back to the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 to find the last team who completed the double.

In a little bit more history, today is the youngest head coaching match-up in Super Bowl history with Sean McVay (36) and Zac Taylor (38) going head-to-head.

If his Rams are successful, McVay will be the youngest Super Bowl winning coach in history.

10.20AM: ELECTRIC CROWD FILLS SoFi STADIUM

Los Angeles Rams players enter the field. Picture: Ronald Martinez/Getty
Los Angeles Rams players enter the field. Picture: Ronald Martinez/Getty
Fans are seen in the stands ahead of Super Bowl LVI. Picture: Frederic J. Brown/AFP
Fans are seen in the stands ahead of Super Bowl LVI. Picture: Frederic J. Brown/AFP
NBA player LebBron James attends Super Bowl LVI. Picture: Andy Lyons/Getty
NBA player LebBron James attends Super Bowl LVI. Picture: Andy Lyons/Getty

9.59AM: ASTRONOMICAL PRICES AT SUPER BOWL STADIUM

With standard Super Bowl 56 tickets going for as much as $800USD and a corporate box yours for a cool $250,000USD, you would think the sparkling new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California could drop the food and beverage prices.

Putting the NRL and AFL to shame, a thirst-quenching craft beer – a California speciality – will set fans back $19USD ($27AUD).

But perhaps the most insulting price comes on the food menu with a caramel apple priced at $28AUD. That is one apple covered in caramel … for $28AUD.

Super Bowl 56 food and beverage prices.
Super Bowl 56 food and beverage prices.

SUPER BOWL 56 – THE RUN DOWN

Los Angeles Rams face Cincinnati Bengals in America’s biggest game of the year — Super Bowl 56.

More than 100 million Americans are expected to tune is as Matthew Stafford’s Rams and Joe Burrow’s Bengals do battle in the Super Bowl.

The stunning brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Los Angeles, will host the NFL’s season-ending showpiece.

Here’s all you need to know for Monday’s (Australian time) extravaganza.

Stream all the action from Super Bowl LVI with ESPN on Kayo. Cincinnati Bengals vs Los Angeles Rams Live Monday 14th Feb from 10AM. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now >

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

When is the Super Bowl?

For Australian audiences, the SuperBowl starts today at 10:30am AEDT. The game is being held at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, the Rams’ home ground.

What time is it in Australia?

The game starts at 10:30am AEDT but coverage will start before this.

Who’s playing?

The Los Angeles Rams became the second team in history to reach a Super Bowl in their own stadium.

They followed in the footsteps of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year in booking their spot in the showpiece.

They won the NFC West division with a 12-5 record and then beat Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers to reach the Super Bowl.

This will be the Rams’ fifth appearance in the Super Bowl and they’ve won it once before in 1999.

The Cincinnati Bengals, meanwhile, have never won NFL’s biggest prize.

Rams quartberacl Matthew Stafford and Bengals QB Joe Burrow.
Rams quartberacl Matthew Stafford and Bengals QB Joe Burrow.

They lost both their previous appearances — both in the 1980s against the San Francisco 49ers.

The AFC North champions won 10 and lost seven of their regular-season games.

And they’ve had a heart-stopping route through the play-offs with wins over Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.

Those three victories came at a combined 13 points with the last two rounds coming down to a late field goal from Evan McPherson.

Who are the key players?

Cincinnati Bengals are led by their brilliant second-year quarterback Joe Burrow.

The 2020 No.1 overall draft pick has bounced back in style after his rookie year ended with a horror knee ligament injury.

He’s been helped this year by the arrival of rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

The pair won the national championship together in college, and have been reunited in the professional game.

Rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase has made an instant impact for the Bengals. Picture: Getty Images
Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase has made an instant impact for the Bengals. Picture: Getty Images

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Trey Hendrickson was voted to the Pro Bowl and will try and disrupt LA’s offence.

There’s a lot for him and the Bengals to try and disrupt against a star-studded team.

The Rams have a fearsome wide receiving corps in the shape of league leader Cooper Kupp, superstar Odell Beckham and the electric Van Jefferson.

Cooper Kupp has been in fantastic form all season for the Rams. Picture: Getty Images
Cooper Kupp has been in fantastic form all season for the Rams. Picture: Getty Images

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has big pressure on his shoulders after the Rams gave up two first-round draft picks for his services in the summer.

Their fearsome defence also features some of the biggest stars in the game in the shape of Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Floyd.

Where is it being played?

The epic SoFi Stadium will be centre of the sporting world on Sunday night.

The 70,000-seat arena in Inglewood was built by Arsenal and LA Rams owner Stan Kroenke and opened in September 2020.

It features a large canopy roof that can project content into the sky about LA, and a 120m long 4K video board inside.

SoFi Stadium is the biggest and most expensive stadium in the NFL and has set a new benchmark around the world.

The Rams are the second team to play a Super Bowl at their home, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Picture: Getty Images
The Rams are the second team to play a Super Bowl at their home, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Picture: Getty Images

Who’s performing in the half-time show?

This year’s half-time show will feature a number of RnB and hip hop legends.

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg will be joined by the likes of Eminem, Mary J Blige and Kendrick Lamar on the field at SoFi Stadium.

This story was first published by The Sun

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