ENGLAND, CA – Aaron Donald was at the Cincinnati backfield last time, his arms clasped around Joe Barrow with everyone on the line. In the Rams team loaded with stars, it was a moment in his city, and Donald wasn’t going to let go.
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp have just finished winning in Los Angeles with a long ride that came out of nowhere. Now it was up to Donald and the rest of the Rams defense to close the deal.
No real pressure. Only the first Super Cup championship is at stake in a city that is rediscovering its love for Rams.
There is no real problem either. Donald held out long enough to make Barrow despair, which came nowhere on the fourth i-1 when there were only 43 seconds left.
When he did let go, the celebration began. The Ramses have finally become champions in the city where they have always belonged.
“I wanted it that way,” Donald said. “I had a dream about it.”
Owner Stan Kroenke probably also dreamed of it, spending about $ 5 billion on the construction of the iconic stadium where it all took place. The setup was impressive, but what will be remembered that day is Stafford and Kupp, who played in the field and caught on the last 79-yard drive, which put Reims 23-20 in a matter of seconds.
And I remembered even more that Donald wrapped Stafford to make sure it wasn’t all in vain.
“We’re constantly talking about competitive greatness to be the best when you need the best,” Rams coach Sean McVeigh said. “So that resentment could find a way, and then Aaron could end it, it’s poetic, dude.”
The game, which could get away from Rams after a shocking 75-yard throw from Barrow to Lee Higgins in the first half of the game, was still available in the fourth quarter largely because of the relentless pressure Rams was putting ahead.
Donald had two bags, and von Miller had two of his own that evening when Barrow was fired seven times. The defense was dominant when it was most needed, keeping the Bengals without points until the end of the road after they scored 10 points in the first 4:45 of the second half.
It wasn’t always beautiful. This, of course, was not easy.
But in a match of teams that seemed to have an amazing ability to find ways to win late, Donald made sure the Bengals weren’t going to get into the goal position and ruin the game.
“I’ve played with a lot of great players and he’s the best,” said Security Eric Weddle, who was retired from the playoffs. “It makes you want to be better with your aura, your thinking.”
This thinking was simple, especially in the final game. Donald went too far, working too hard not to finish.
“Give me everything (I have),” Donald said when asked what was on his mind.
“He had the opportunity, he set the big path,” McVay said. – And he is a world champion.
Like the rest of the Rams, that was in doubt after receiver Odel Beckham Jr. left the field with a knee injury, and Kupp was silent for a long time. But if it mattered, it was Stafford, a defender who was brought in just for such a drive, and Kupp played in the field and fished before finally joining the 1-yard line with 1:29 left.
A few games earlier Kupp also turned an important fourth event by making the race, which helped add the Super Cup MVP title to one of the best seasons with a wide receiver in NFL history.
The award was worthy, and Kupp later admitted that, like Donald, he also had a dream. His Rams will win the Super Cup and he will become the MVP. But Donald could have won the award just as easily as the defense leader, who eventually saved the game.
“Our front really led us in the second half and really deserves all the praise for this victory,” said Weddle. “We really put out the light in defense.”
On a magical night at SoFi Stadium this was enough to win.
And so the “Los Angeles Rams” can finally be called champions of the Super Cup.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports commentator for The Associated Press. Email him at email@example.com or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
Column: Donald is not going to release the Super Cup trophy
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