The Super Bowl LVI matchup is officially set, as the Rams will play the Cincinnati Bengals in their own stadium in Los Angeles thanks to a fourth quarter comeback from 10 down to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
The Niners fell behind early, but took a 10-7 lead into halftime thanks to the heroics of Deebo Samuel and the generosity of the Rams offense, which dropped a pair of potential touchdowns to keep San Francisco close.
For much of the game, Jimmy Garoppolo was excellent for the Niners, as he took them to a 17-7 lead, but as the game got into the fourth quarter, some of the same problems that have plagued Garoppolo and the San Francisco offense started to emerge. However, one of the biggest missed opportunities of the game came on the defensive end, where the Niners have made their money all postseason, when Jaquiski Tartt had a chance to pick off a horrid throw from Matthew Stafford and, somehow, put it on the turf.
That allowed the Rams second life on the drive, with Stafford finding Odell Beckham Jr. twice to move the ball across midfield and set up the game-tying field goal. After a dreadful three-and-out from the Niners in which they lost seven yards and Jimmy G threw what should’ve been a pick-six that was dropped by Jalen Ramsey, L.A. marched down the field again for a go-ahead field goal with just under two minutes to play.
On their final drive of the game, the Rams defensive line finally started to apply some much needed pressure and, fittingly, it was Aaron Donald who made the play of the game, putting Garoppolo under duress which led to the terrible decision to try and flip the ball to his back, which naturally floated over his head and into the waiting arms of a Rams defender to end the game.
It is a somewhat fitting way for Jimmy G’s run through this playoffs to end, as he has lived on the knife’s edge all postseason, and unfortunately for the Niners one of his near-interceptions finally got hauled in by the opposing team. L.A. will head to the Super Bowl to face the Bengals in a fascinating matchup between teams with very little Super Bowl experience.