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Super Bowl 56: Bengals, Rams to compete for Lombardi Trophy after dramatic comeback wins

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

For the second year in a row, the home team will get a home Super Bowl.

The Los Angeles Rams rallied from 17-7 down in the 4th quarter to finally vanquish the San Francisco 49ers in a 20-17 thriller. Matthew Stafford threw for 335 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception (should’ve had 2 if not for a bad drop by Jaquiski Tartt). He was lethal on 3rd down and has absolutely played his ass off this postseason on his way to the Super Bowl.

Jimmy Garoppolo. What more can you say? He wasn’t even playing that terribly but he tempted fate with a couple of near-interceptions and sure enough, with the season on the line he did this. It’s not “The Tip” but it’s a very hilarious alternate take.

If Sean McVay was actively trying to lose the game with bad challenges and timeout wasting, Kyle Shanahan punted on 4th down in Rams territory every single time. If you could forgive 4th and 9 at LA’s 42 in the 3rd quarter, there was a 4th and 6 punt at the Rams 40 resulted in LA’s first touchdown drive, and then a very bad 4th and 2 punt at LA’s 45 even after Sean McVay gave Shanahan extra time to think it over with a challenge of a potential fumble. Shanahan took the delay of game, punted, Tartt dropped an interception and you know the rest from there.

Cooper Kupp had 11 catches for 142 yards and both touchdowns. Odell Beckham Jr had 9 grabs for 113 yards as they picked on the 49ers secondary repeatedly. The 49ers offense ended up with -8 yards on their final six plays of the season. Add that to Kyle’s history of late-game collapses and for all we know, we just saw Jimmy’s final pass in a 49er uniform.

The 49ers had a 10-point lead on the road against an NFC West rival in a Conference Championship Game, only to lose in the 4th quarter and suffer a season-ending interception on a deflection. You damn well better believe this is getting intense Enemy Reaction treatment.

And as a reminder to everyone, San Francisco’s last Super Bowl victory was so long ago that the TV show ER was in its first season and “Creep” by TLC was the #1 song in the United States.

Meanwhile, the AFC Championship saw an all-time great comeback. The Kansas City Chiefs were up 21-3 on the Cincinnati Bengals and really why would anyone believe that a Patrick Mahomes team would squander such a massive lead?

These Cardiac Cats don’t know when it’s over.

Joe Burrow threw a screen pass touchdown before halftime, and the Bengals made a massive goal-line stand heading into the locker room. Mahomes made a poor decision to throw it sideways to Tyreek Hill, who had no chance to score and the Chiefs were out of timeouts and out of time.

Cincinnati’s defense played phenomenally in the 2nd half, as Mahomes was just 8/18 for 55 yards and 2 interceptions (and a fumble that almost screwed KC in regulation). The first Mahomes interception resulted in a Ja’Marr Chase touchdown. The second interception in overtime — the Buffalo Bills learned a thing or two on how to play defense in overtime — gave Cincy great field position and they were able to march down the field and kick the winning field goal with rookie sensation Evan McPherson.

A stunned crowd at Arrowhead were in disbelief. From 21-3 Chiefs to 27-24 Bengals and an unlikely trip to the Super Bowl. It’s the largest blown lead in a loss in the Mahomes era, but it’s the third time in the postseason that Andy Reid has blown an 18+ pt lead as Kansas City head coach. Mahomes is a brilliant player but he was awful in the 2nd half/OT and this might be the first major bit of criticism he’ll receive since he came into the league. As for the Bengals, full marks to them for a tremendous fight back and improbable win. And kudos to Tre Flowers for making the most of his fresh start elsewhere after the Seahawks waived him.

Two years ago, Joe Burrow was in college winning the national title with LSU. Last year, he tore his ACL deep into his rookie season. He’s in the Super Bowl this year and is already a Cincinnati sports hero.

It’s the Bengals vs. Rams on February 13th in Inglewood. Sean McVay will go up against his former assistant Zac Taylor. Either the Rams win their second Super Bowl and their first in Los Angeles or the Bengals become the 22nd franchise to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. This is the first Super Bowl ever to feature no top-3 seeds, so the field was as wide open as advertised.

For the next two weeks we’re Bengals fans. WHO DEY?!