3 reasons why the Cincinnati Bengals lost Super Bowl LVI
Inability to counter Rams second-half adjustments
The 2021-22 Bengals, especially on the defensive side, had been the kings of the halftime adjustments.
How many times had the team went into the locker room trailing and looking lost, only to come out the second half and flip the switch?
Whether out of necessity or design, the Bengals staff were able to tweak and fine-tune the game plan at the half and more often than not come out and counter whatever the opponent was doing.
When the Super Bowl went to half as a reasonably close game, perhaps the coaching staff didn’t have any particular areas to focus on in terms of strengthening protection, ball security, maintaining rushing lane integrity, etc.
The Bengals were doing a reasonably good job on the greatest defensive player-in-the-history-of-sports, Aaron Donald, and had kept Joey Franchise upright for the most part.
Subsequently, when the Rams were able to come out after half and change up their defensive fronts with more stunts and twists, Cincy’s line had no chance.
As crazy as it sounds, it probably would’ve been better for Donald, Von Miller and company to eat Joe Burrow’s lunch in the first half so the team could’ve been better prepared for what they KNEW they would be doing after half.
I would be remiss if I didn’t throw in the basic inability to cover Cooper Kupp in the fourth quarter. Eli Apple has taken a lot of hate, despite having a better game than his high-dollar counterpart on the Rams in Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey gave up 160 yards receiving and a touchdown. That is very bad. However shame on Lou Anarumo for allowing this.
Apple is competent, and I know it isn’t the Bengals habit to shadow cover a star receiver, but by the fourth quarter, Los Angeles was down to literally ONE weapon. The game plan should’ve called for two or even three guys draped on Kupp every play. Make someone else beat you. Van Jefferson? I doubt that.
To put Eli Apple in a 1 on 1 situation against a receiver having one of the two best seasons in league history was a failure on the defensive coaches more than the player.