In a Super Bowl of big plays, Cooper Kupp’s fourth-down run should not be forgotten

INGLEWOOD — Super observations on Super Sunday at SoFi Stadium …

• It was a play that might get lost in the review of the Rams’ 23-20 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It should not …

• The Rams had the ball on their 30-yard line with 4:54 left in the game and the Bengals leading, 20-16. It was fourth-and-1. The Rams went for it – a handoff to Cooper Kupp on an end around that the All-Pro wide receiver carried or 7 yards and a first down, extending the 15-play drive that would result in the Rams scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a Matthew Stafford pass to Kupp.

• A lot of things can go wrong on an end around. It’s not the easiest handoff to complete, with the receiver coming at full speed, and there always are large lanes for a defender to come in and make a tackle for a loss. It was a gutsy call by Coach Sean McVay.

• It takes everybody a while to get re-focused on the football game after the Super Bowl halftime show. Maybe even the officials. On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter side judge Keith Washington missed Cincinnati receiver Tee Higgins grabbing Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s face mask, tossing Ramsey to the turf, before Higgins hauled in a Joe Burrow pass for a 75-yard touchdown pass that put the Bengals ahead, 17-13.

• Big plays on defense early in a game can be as important as the big plays in the final minutes. On the Bengals’ opening possession of the game, they had a third-and-1 at midfield. Rams nose tackle Greg Gaines, an All-Orange County defensive lineman at La Habra High, stopped Bengals back Samaje Perine for no gain, then, on fourth-and-1, Rams rookie linebacker Ernest Jones got his hand in front of a pass to get the ball back to the Rams. And the result of that ensuing Rams possession was Stafford’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. for a 7-0 lead.

• And there was the Von Miller knockdown of a Joe Burrow pass that held the Bengals to a field goal on their only first-quarter score.

• Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald was double- and even tripled-teamed for most of the game. He got a one-on-one opportunity in the third quarter, on a third-and-3 for the Bengals at the Rams’ 11. Donald ran straight at and through Cincinnati guard Hakeem Adenji and sacked Burrow for a 9-yard loss, leaving the Bengals with a 28-yard field goal by Evan McPherson that made it 20-13 for Cincinnati but kept the Rams within one score.

• It was third-and-3 on that Stafford-to-Beckham pass. Super Bowl offenses often go conservative in the early moments of the game. The Rams went empty backfield and Stafford focused solely on Beckham, put the ball in the perfect place where only Beckham cold get his hands on the ball and pull it in.

• A pregame tour of the stadium gave the impression that there were more Bengals fans than Rams fans at the game. Bengals fans were louder, too, when the teams took the field before the game, but that’s always the case when visiting teams’ fans come in with their “we’re taking over your stadium” mentality. And loud visiting fans, even if a small minority, are like the screaming baby on the airplane – there is only one baby doing that, but that’s all you hear.

• The L.A.-themed halftime show was powerful. At the end, Dr. Dre looked equally satisfied and moved. And proud.

• The Rams were the visiting team Sunday despite being at SoFi Stadium and using their regular locker room. The home team designation alternates between the AFC and NFC representative every season.

• Sunday’s Super Bowl was the latest, by date. Three Super Bowls have been played on Feb. 7, including last year’s, the latest previous date before this season’s Super Bowl. The first Super Bowl, which was called the AFL-NFL Championship game (at the Coliseum) was played on Jan. 15, 1967. The earliest date was Jan. 9, 1977, at the Rose Bowl.

• The next three Super Bowls are scheduled for, in order: Glendale, Ariz.; Las Vegas and New Orleans.

• Sunday’s game could have set the Super Bowl record for most marijuana clouds in a stadium, but there is no data from previous Super Bowls to verify that.

• Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director, had a seat in the front row of the 500 level, which is the top deck at SoFi. Yes, she wore a mask and she wore a Rams shirt. Whatever one’s opinions on her, it should be agreed that she deserved a fun day to decompress.

• The pregame press box joke heard more than once before the game … former Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford played for the Rams and Detroit guy Eminem was in the halftime show, so that’s the closest Detroit will get to being in a Super Bowl.

• It’s Los Angeles, so of course there were plenty of celebrities in attendance, many of whom were shown on the giant Oculus videoboard. Among them were actors Kevin Hart, Charlize Theron and Chris Tucker, athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clayton Kershaw and Shaquille O’Neal, and music stars Cardi B and The Weekend. Cardi B’s five-inch fingernails could classify as weapons, but she got through security anyway.

• The introduction of the Rams cheerleaders in the third quarter kicked in the memory of when they were called “The Embraceable Ewes,” which was former owner Georgia Frontiere’s bad idea. But it was not as bad as her idea to move the Rams to St. Louis.

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp runs in front of Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Vonn Bell for a first down during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 56 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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