INGLEWOOD, Calif. — In a venue built for champions, the Los Angeles Rams carried off the crown jewel: a Super Bowl trophy.
It took a precise 79-yard drive capped by Cooper Kupp's 1-yard touchdown reception with 1:25 remaining for a 23-20 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals to give the Rams their first NFL title since the 1999 season — and their first representing Los Angeles since 1951.
They did it in their home, the $5 billion SoFi Stadium, making the Rams the second consecutive host to win the championship after Tampa Bay became the first a year ago.
The winning series, during which game MVP Kupp's 4-yard touchdown reception was negated by offsetting penalties, ended soon after with the NFL offensive player of the year easily beating Eli Apple in the right corner of the end zone for the winning score.
Kupp had four receptions for 39 yards on the championship drive.
Even with that brilliant, decisive march to the Lombardi Trophy, it was LA's "fearsome fivesome" that made the difference. Led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, they sacked Joe Burrow a Super Bowl record-tying seven times, shutting down the Cincinnati offense after a 22-second spurt to start the second half gave the Bengals the lead.
Fittingly, Burrow was under pressure on fourth-and-1 and threw incomplete, setting off a football fiesta this city has not seen since the LA Raiders won the 1983 championship.
The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first offensive play of the third quarter. Burrow moved to his right and then up before throwing deep to Tee Higgins, who caught the ball as Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey fell. Higgins ran to the end zone to finish off the 75-yard TD for a 17-13 lead.
On the Rams' first play to start the next drive, a pass from Matthew Stafford intended for Ben Skowronek bounced to Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie at the Los Angeles 32.
Evan McPherson hit a field goal to put the Bengals up 20-13.
That interception gives the Bengals eight this postseason, most since the Green Bay Packers had eight in 2010.
Stafford became the sixth player to throw for 6,000 yards in a single season. He got that with a 16-yard pass to Brycen Hopkins in the third quarter.
Three plays later, the Rams tried their version of the Philly Special with Cooper Kupp throwing to Stafford. But they didn't connect, and Matt Gay kicked a 41-yard field goal with 6:02 left in the third. That pulled the Rams within 20-16.
Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates III got the game's first turnover, working his way in front of Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson in the end zone. Stafford rolled out left on third-and-14 and threw deep from around midfield.
Officials flagged Cincinnati for unsportsmanlike conduct, not for taunting but for a player — wearing a hoodie not in uniform — who ran into the end zone to celebrate. That forced Cincinnati to start at its own 10 with 2 minutes left in the half.
Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered an injury to his left leg on a noncontact play with 3:50 remaining in the second quarter.
Beckham was running toward the right side of the field on a crossing route, but it appeared as though his foot got caught in the turf. He dropped a pass thrown by Stafford and clutched his leg as he fell to the turf.
Beckham was looked at by trainers on the field before being helped off. He was looked at briefly in the medical tent on the Rams' sideline before heading to the locker room.
Beckham, who was signed by the Rams after being released by Cleveland at midseason, had two receptions for 52 yards. He scored LA's first touchdown when he beat Mike Hilton in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard score.