The New York Jets have had a nightmare start to their preseason with second-year quarterback Zach Wilson limping out of Friday's 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Wilson suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter, buckling without contact as he scrambled out of the pocket trying to outrun a tackler.

The 23-year-old Jets QB fell, got up limping, before dropping to the turf again and exiting for the locker room.

Wilson had thrown an interception on the Jets' fifth play, finishing the game completing three of five passes for 23 yards.

The injury concern is to the same knee that he sustained a PCL sprain last season, causing him to miss four games.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh revealed Wilson would have an MRI on Saturday to determine the extent of the injury but said his ACL was "supposed to be intact".

The Jets have high hopes for their 2021 NFL Draft second pick, building their roster around him this offseason, having bolstered their offensive ranks with tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin and drafting wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall.

Wilson had a difficult rookie season with a 3-10 record, completing 213 of 383 attempts for nine touchdowns and 2,334 yards with 11 interceptions for a 55.6 completion rate.

There were other injury worries from Friday's preseason games with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London hurting his right knee in their 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions.

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell watched on in their clash with the Green Bay Packers after suffering a hamstring injury during their camp.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen, covering for Joe Burrow who is recovering from an appendectomy, was ruled out due to a concussion in their 36-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.


With less than five weeks until the start of the NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor isn't worried about when quarterback Joe Burrow will be back on the practice field. 

Burrow, the 2020 top overall draft pick, underwent surgery last month to remove his appendix. While he has been seen on the sidelines at Bengals practices, Burrow has yet to resume football activities. 

"He's starting to get better every single day," Taylor said of his star signal-caller. "Again, I don't want to put a timeline on when he gets out here and starts throwing and stuff, but it's been encouraging. He's back to himself in meetings so — looking good."

The Bengals' 2022 season opens on September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, although Burrow is still expected to be healthy enough to start under center. 

"He knows himself way better than we do," Taylor said. "I trust the communications with him when we're going to get him back out here.

"We've got plenty of time before the opener and I trust that we'll have a good process in place."

Burrow cemented his place among the game's best young quarterbacks last season, bouncing back from the knee injury that ended his rookie campaign to lead the Bengals to a 10-6 record as a starter in 2021. 

The Bengals played in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season but lost to the Los Angeles Rams. 

Over his last eight games of 2021, including four playoff games, Burrow threw for 16 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 72 percent of his passes. 

With less than five weeks until the start of the NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor isn't worried about when quarterback Joe Burrow will be back on the practice field. 

Burrow, the 2020 top overall draft pick, underwent surgery last month to remove his appendix. While he has been seen on the sidelines at Bengals practices, Burrow has yet to resume football activities. 

"He's starting to get better every single day," Taylor said of his star signal-caller. "Again, I don't want to put a timeline on when he gets out here and starts throwing and stuff, but it's been encouraging. He's back to himself in meetings so — looking good."

The Bengals' 2022 season opens on September 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, although Burrow is still expected to be healthy enough to start under center. 

"He knows himself way better than we do," Taylor said. "I trust the communications with him when we're going to get him back out here.

"We've got plenty of time before the opener and I trust that we'll have a good process in place."

Burrow cemented his place among the game's best young quarterbacks last season, bouncing back from the knee injury that ended his rookie campaign to lead the Bengals to a 10-6 record as a starter in 2021. 

The Bengals played in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season but lost to the Los Angeles Rams. 

Over his last eight games of 2021, including four playoff games, Burrow threw for 16 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 72 percent of his passes. 

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is undergoing surgery to have his appendix removed, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said Tuesday.

Burrow is expected to miss practice time during training camp but make a full recovery before the defending AFC champion Bengals begin their season on September 11 against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.

The news comes one day after team owner Mike Brown said Cincinnati's "whole focus" is to get an extension in place with Burrow, who is eligible to negotiate a new deal after this season – his third in the NFL.

"Right now our obvious, most important issue will be our quarterback," Brown said on Monday. "It's not quite ready or ripe yet, but it's right down the track and we see the train coming."

Burrow went 2-7-1 as the starter in 2020 after the Bengals selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He tore his left ACL and MCL in Week 11 that season before returning last year and leading Cincinnati to their first playoff berth since 2015 and first Super Bowl appearance since 1988.

The Bengals led the Los Angeles Rams 20-13 in the third quarter of the Super Bowl before eventually losing 23-20. Burrow passed for 263 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions against the Rams.

"We couldn't be happier with Joe Burrow," Brown said. "He's everything you would wish for, especially for a quarterback in Cincinnati. And our whole focus is going on keeping him here."

Despite a breakout second NFL season capped by an unexpected run to the Super Bowl, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is not resting on his accomplishments.

Burrow and the Bengals have entered preparations for the 2022 season with a sense of unfinished business after coming up just short of earning the franchise's first NFL championship. 

To illustrate that point, the league's 2021 Comeback Player of the Year revealed he is taking his personal trainer with him to an upcoming trip to Las Vegas with teammate Jesse Bates, simply because he does not want to miss a workout between now and training camp.

"That is a great message for our team," Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters following Tuesday's voluntary practice. 

"When your leadership is making those statements, it trickles down to the entirety of the roster. If they want to keep up, they have got to get on that level.

"That is what we want as a team. That is where we want to get to, and we have just got to be prepared when the first day of training camp rolls around that we don't miss a beat."

Burrow enters the summer in a better place physically than a year ago, when he was completing the recovery process from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his promising 2020 rookie campaign after 10 games. 

The 25-year-old said the knee sprain he sustained during the fourth quarter of Cincinnati’s 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI has not been an issue during offseason workouts.

"I have just been able to focus on the entirety of myself, weight room and conditioning, on field, throwing, mechanics, all of it's not really focusing on the knee," Burrow said. 

"It's just getting back to where I was prior. And I've been able to focus on the entirety of myself as a player."

Burrow made tremendous strides in his second NFL campaign, setting Bengals season records for passing yards (4,611) and touchdown passes (34) and leading Cincinnati to its first playoff appearance since 2015.

The 2020 number one overall pick still feels there is room for further improvement and said he is focused on taking his play to the next level.

"Continue to be critical of yourself and the things that you can improve on and continue to raise the level of play of your teammates. I don't think he has any hesitancy to do that," Taylor said. 

"That's what's encouraging. You want a guy who's really got the mental makeup of exactly what you want from your quarterback.

"We have extremely high expectations for Joe, but I don't think anyone has higher expectations than he has for himself. And that is a great starting point for a guy that's leading your team like that."

The NFL Draft is rarely dominated by teams in contention to lift the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the upcoming season.

Though trades regularly shuffle the pack, more often than not the draft headlines are made by teams who finished at the wrong end of the regular-season standings in the previous campaign, such is the nature of league's annual selection meeting.

While those franchises with rosters capable of contending to go all the way to the Super Bowl may not be as reliant on the draft as those rebuilding their teams, the selections they make can be critical in providing the potential final piece of what they hope will be a championship-winning puzzle.

Inevitably, not every team expected to contend in April will do so once the season gets under way in September.

Yet we can make educated guesses as to which teams will be in the mix to go deep into the postseason in each conference.

Here Stats Perform has identified four such teams from each conference, with the Cleveland Browns omitted from the list due to the threat of a possible suspension for new starting quarterback Deshaun Watson.

With help from some advanced metrics, we look at what each of these eight teams need to add in the draft to maximise their hopes of standing underneath the confetti in Arizona next February.


Los Angeles Rams

Identifying draft needs for the Rams is a difficult task not because they don't have any, but because they so often fill their holes by trading away their picks to land superstars.

This year, the Rams don't pick until 104 overall in the third round, not that the Super Bowl champions will mind skipping the first two rounds.

When it finally comes to their turn, the interior of the offensive line stands out as an area of weakness, while the Rams might also be eyeing an edge rusher to help fill the void left by Von Miller, whose stunt-adjusted pass rush win percentage of 43.4 was fifth among edge rushers with at least 100 one-on-one matchups last year.

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners are in a similar position to the Rams in that they don't have a lot of needs, though the urgency is greater for a team that let a fourth-quarter lead slip against Los Angeles in the NFC Championship Game.

Right guard has been a long-standing issue for San Francisco, and the Niners will also need to find a developmental center to replace Alex Mack when he eventually retires. Nebraska's Cam Jurgens is a name to watch there.

San Francisco do not pick until 61st overall in the second round, having traded this year's first-rounder in the package that landed Trey Lance. A defense that ranked first in pass rush win rate could be stacked further by another edge rusher to pair with Nick Bosa, and there is a clear need next to Jimmie Ward at safety.

Of course, what would really make it a successful draft for the Niners would be finally trading Jimmy Garoppolo to secure more picks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There's a theme here, and the theme is that trying to find needs for NFC contenders is tough, especially in the case of the Bucs, who brought back Tom Brady after he quickly got bored with retirement and re-signed a host of free agents many expected to depart.

With Todd Bowles assuming the head coaching reins from Bruce Arians, it's fair to anticipate a focus on the defense from the Bucs, who own the 27th pick in the first round as well as two other top-100 selections.

More beef on the interior of the defensive line is required with Ndamukong Suh as yet not re-signed and, though Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal have signed as safety help to atone for Jordan Whitehead's departure, a rookie who can make a difference down in the box and in coverage would be a welcome addition to the defense.

Green Bay Packers

Now this is more like it. The Packers have one glaring, obvious need and there's no way they can fail to address it, right?

Brian Gutekunst may have a history of eschewing first-round wide receivers but, after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, it would be an extremely bemusing move to risk Aaron Rodgers' wrath and do so again.

Chris Olave, Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, Jahan Dotson... they all must be in the mix here and, with two selections in the first round, the Packers could even double up at the position.

There are other holes. The secondary could use some more quality depth, and an offensive line that ranked 28th in run-block win rate could also be improved, but the Packers' hopes of getting over the hump in 2022 likely rest on their ability to give Rodgers weapons that mitigate the impact of Adams' stunning departure.


Kansas City Chiefs

After Patrick Mahomes faced the most pressures in a Super Bowl since 2006 in consecutive years (28 in SB LIV, 34 in SB LV), the Chiefs overhauled their offensive line heading into 2021 and were confident they were on course for the title game once again – only for Mahomes' own stunning playoff collapse to end both the team's season and the career of Tyreek Hill in Kansas City.

Hill's departure in a trade to the Miami Dolphins leaves a gaping hole.

New signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling at least offers a downfield option, but that was his sole responsibility with the Packers in 2021, recording a league-high average depth of target of 17.6 yards but making just 26 catches. Valdes-Scantling and fellow recruit JuJu Smith-Schuster, who's coming off shoulder surgery, have just one 1,000-yard season between them; Hill has four.

Thankfully, the Hill deal means the Chiefs have plenty of draft picks – two in each of the first three rounds – and plenty of options at wide receiver, but safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Charvarius Ward must also be replaced just to get Kansas City back to where they started.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are a year behind the Chiefs, beaten in the Super Bowl after leaving their quarterback horribly exposed. Joe Burrow faced 23 pressures against the Rams, tied for third-most since 2006.

Like the Chiefs, they quickly set about bolstering their O line in free agency, though there remains a pressing need at left guard. Ted Karras played there for the New England Patriots last year, but is set to move back into center after Trey Hopkins was cut.

That versatility at least gives the Bengals options at either position depending on how the draft plays out, with their first pick not until the end of the first round (31). In fact, given competition at cornerback, edge and/or tight end could also be sought, the Bengals may be flexible throughout.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are the Super Bowl favourites, and with good reason. They were a coin flip away from beating the Chiefs and would have backed themselves against the Bengals, which might have quelled some of the optimism in Cincinnati channelled above. Buffalo have also added Super Bowl champion Miller to a defense that gave up a league-low 4.57 yards per play.

That's not to say there don't remain areas for improvement, with cornerback an obvious place to start. Tre'Davious White is returning from an ACL tear, and the Bills need a new man opposite him, given the loss of Levi Wallace.

The Bills might also be advised to ease the burden on all-action quarterback Josh Allen with the addition of a reliable running back. Allen ranked third among QBs for rushing yards in 2021 (763) but accounted for 34.5 per cent of his team's total – far and away the greatest share at his position.

Second on the list was former MVP Lamar Jackson (767 yards, 30.9 per cent), who's already showing signs of wear and tear having been tasked with running the Baltimore Ravens' offense.

Los Angeles Chargers

Outside the Packers, the Chargers perhaps have the most obvious positional need of any contender at right tackle – despite their own strong signings so far.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater was their first-round pick in 2021 and earned Pro Bowl recognition in his rookie season. Among offensive tackles with 200 or more pass protection snaps, Slater's stunt-adjusted win percentage of 90.5 ranked third. However, that stood in complete contrast to right tackle Storm Norton, whose 63.0 per cent ranked third-last.

Norton was brought in to play 15 games after a back injury put Bryan Bulaga on injured reserve. Bulaga has now been cut, and the Chargers surely cannot run it back with Norton.

The very best OTs in the draft are unlikely to still be available when the Chargers get to work in the middle of the first round, but it's no surprise to see them widely linked with Northern Iowa's Trevor Penning.

The Cincinnati Bengals will look at ways to improve their team and help superstar quarterback Joe Burrow after an outstanding season ended in defeat at Super Bowl LVI.

The Bengals, who had not previously won a playoff game in 31 years, came within minutes of their first Super Bowl victory.

But a drive led by Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp put the Los Angeles Rams into a 23-20 lead, which three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner Aaron Donald protected when the Bengals attempted to come back down the field.

Donald finished with 10 pressures – a total only topped in a Super Bowl once since 2006 (Nick Bosa, 12, in Super Bowl LIV) – of the 23 Burrow faced.

In that same recent period, there have been six examples of a quarterback being pressured 20 or more times in the Super Bowl and only one (Patrick Mahomes, 28, also in Super Bowl LIV) has won.

Burrow's seven sacks tied the Super Bowl record (Roger Staubach in Super Bowl X) and followed his league-leading 51 in the regular season.

It is no secret that the Bengals' issues are on the offensive line, although that much was clear last year, too, when Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee after being hit by two Washington defenders.

Rather than address the problem with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who had played with Burrow at LSU.

The Bengals were rewarded as Chase had 81 catches for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honours, but their inability to protect Burrow proved costly in the closing seconds of the season.

Can they now belatedly find a fix? That certainly appears to be the plan.

"Joe is a smart player and that shines through," Bengals owner Mike Brown said. "He's accurate, he's tough as nails. We want to do some things to help him."

Brown added: "I think we have the core of a top team, we'll add to it and I think we can make it better."

If the Bengals can just keep Burrow clean a little more often, they have every chance of returning to the big game during the quarterback's tenure.

"We're a young team," Burrow said immediately after Sunday's defeat, "so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

Addressing the team's fans, Brown said: "My one regret is I'm not carrying a new trophy. The Bengals are real. The future is bright. You, our coaches and our players are going to have some trip."

Joe Burrow will not require surgery on the right knee injury he sustained in the Cincinnati Bengals' Super Bowl LVI defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

Burrow endured a punishing second half behind the Bengals' below-par offensive line in Sunday's 23-20 defeat to the Rams at SoFi Stadium.

The Bengals quarterback finished with seven sacks, tying Roger Staubach's Super Bowl X record.

One hit saw Burrow hobble away, appearing to be in real pain with his knee.

Although Burrow later said the issue "feels good", head coach Zac Taylor – speaking on Wednesday as his Bengals contract was extended – recommended a period of rest for the former first overall pick.

It was an MCL sprain but not a new issue, Taylor revealed, with Burrow having merely aggravated an injury sustained against the Los Angeles Chargers in the regular season.

"Joe had the sprained MCL and that's really an aggravation of something he did in late December," Taylor said. "Rest is the best thing for him."

Burrow also injured his finger in December, with Taylor quizzed on the possibility of surgery for that ailment, too.

"Not to my understanding, no," the coach said.

Burrow was ruled out in Week 11 of the 2020 season, his rookie year, due to ACL and MCL tears in his left knee.

The Cincinnati Bengals have confirmed head coach Zac Taylor has been rewarded for their run to the Super Bowl with a new contract.

Taylor, 38, guided the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years during what was a momentous season.

While Cincinnati were ultimately beaten 23-20 by the Los Angeles Rams – Taylor's previous employers – in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday in Inglewood, rumours quickly began to circulate that he was to be handed a new deal.

The franchise confirmed the news on Wednesday, with Taylor signing through 2026, and Bengals president Mike Brown was keen to show his and the city's gratitude to the coach.

"He's a good young coach," Brown wrote. "Zac has come into the league and worked to develop the foundations for a winning program that can be successful over time.

"The fruits of Zac's efforts were seen this year, and Zac is well-regarded by our players and coaches. I know the effort and passion Zac brings to the building and to our team, and I am pleased by his approach.

"And I think the city of Cincinnati sees him the way the players and I do. He's brought excitement to the town and deserves credit and recognition for that."

Not only did Taylor end the Bengals' long wait for a crack at the Super Bowl, but their 26-19 Wild Card win over the Las Vegas Raiders in January was their first playoff victory in 31 years.

The Bengals scored 444 points over the 16 games that the starters played, just four short of the franchise record set in 1988.

The output and run of the 2021 vintage was, according to Brown, largely down to Taylor and his coaching.

"In this league, if you want to get to where you wish, getting to the Super Bowl, you need a lot of things," Brown added.

"All of those are important, but certain people, and I would be one, would say the most important part is being able to score.

"These days 30 points is at a level you're able to win week in and week out. It's something we're shooting for in the future.

"We have the ability to do it if we're going right. Zac is the reason we can do that. It's his system. He teaches it effectively and our guys have bought into it."

The immediate futures of head coach Sean McVay and veteran defensive lineman Aaron Donald will not be determined for a month according to Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.

McVay guided the Rams to Sunday's 23-20 Super Bowl LVI triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium, making him the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl in NFL history at 36-years-old.

Donald made a series of key plays to clinch victory for the Rams but speculation has been rife about the 30-year-old's playing future, although he declined to discuss it in the aftermath of victory.

“I think all of these guys are wiped,” Demoff told reporters on Monday. “When you get to this point, the gas tank is empty and you’re sitting there holding a trophy.

"I think that’s daunting to some degree when you wake up this morning and realize you’ve got to go do it all over again, and you don’t have the energy so I think the talk is actually natural.

“I would agree. I don’t think Sean’s current pace is sustainable in terms of how much work he puts in if you want to have a family. But I think the one thing, these guys all love football.

"They love being around each other… These are all natural questions that are hard to answer in the moment. A month away, two months away from everybody, and I think things will feel a lot better.”

McVay added that good things happens when you get great players pulling in the same direction, as the Rams claimed their first Super Bowl victory since 1999, when they were based in St Louis.

The Rams invested heavily in success ahead of this season, bringing in quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and outside line backer Von Miller in the past 12 months.

"When you get around great players and great coaches who are all committed and pulling in the same direction, pulling that rope in the same direction, good things can happen," McVay told reporters on Monday.

"Each team is a new team every single year but when you have the right foundational pieces like Cooper [Kupp], [Andrew] Whitworth, Stafford, Aaron Donald, the list goes on, you just feel grateful to be a part of it.

"Because of their success other people get a chance to grow."

"I think defense is going to win this game. Somebody has to step up and stop these superstar quarterbacks, that team is going to win this game. I just think the defense has to score the knockout."

Michael Buffer has made his name as the voice of professional boxing, but he clearly knows his football, as his Super Bowl prediction proved remarkably prescient.

It was indeed a defensive player who delivered the knockout blow of Super Bowl LVI, as the Los Angeles Rams fought back to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

The league's premier defensive star, Aaron Donald, was the source of that telling strike, and it may well prove the final one of his career.

On a must-have fourth-down attempt for the Bengals following Cooper Kupp's go-ahead touchdown, Donald sliced through the interior of the Bengals' offensive line and corralled a hobbled Joe Burrow, who flung a desperation pass that proved too short for Samaje Perine.

Donald finally climbing the mountain with the Rams after years of defensive dominance will only heighten talk of retirement that emerged pre-game.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was non-committal on his future speaking after the game, choosing to focus on a moment in which he vindicated head coach Sean McVay's faith in him.

McVay told Donald he would make the decisive play, delivering a show of confidence in a player whose consistent brilliance has merited such belief.

"He told me that when I got to the sideline. You have to be relentless. You want something bad enough, you go get it," Donald told a media conference. 

"It was right in front of us. We had the lead. It was put on the defense's shoulders to make the big stop to make us world champions. You wouldn't want it another way.

"All offseason you work, you train, you got camp, you got a long season just for this one game to be the last team standing. You have to give it everything you've got.

"It's about being relentless, showing up when you need to. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. It's truly a blessing, the opportunity to play this game, but not just play this game, play with great team-mates, great coaches, great organisation.

"Been here eight years, lot of ups-and-downs, so to see it come full circle and be a world champion, all that hard work you put into this game, that's what it's for. Finally mission complete, so it feels great."

Describing the final play, he said: "We had made a third-down stop. Fourth down, I thought they would run, but they dropped back to pass. Found a way to get the chop-club and bend the edge and found a way to get to the quarterback and make him throw an errant pass.

"I actually tried to get the ball out, but he threw it up so I was a little nervous at first. It was a huge play. It was a great few stops for the defense that we made leading up to that. I think we started taking over the game up front when we needed to. We're world champs."

Zac Taylor refused to blame the officials after a controversial defensive holding call went against the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter of their Super Bowl LVI defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led 20-16 going into the final minutes at SoFi Stadium, but the Rams produced the longest go-ahead fourth-quarter drive in Super Bowl history to claim a dramatic 23-20 victory thanks to Matthew Stafford's touchdown throw to Cooper Kupp.

Three plays before that touchdown on a back-shoulder fade, the Bengals appeared to have the Rams stopped on the Cincinnati eight-yard line when Logan Wilson batted down a third-down pass to Kupp.

However, Wilson was flagged for holding despite there appearing to be minimal contact between the Bengals linebacker and Kupp, giving the Rams a new set of downs.

A touchdown throw to Kupp was then nullified by offsetting penalties before the wideout drew a pass interference flag on Eli Apple and Stafford failed on a quarterback sneak prior to making the crucial connection with the Super Bowl MVP.

Asked about Wilson's defensive stop being taken away by penalty, Taylor told a post-game media conference: "It's tough, I thought it was a really well-officiated game to be quite honest with you and sometimes it comes down to moments like those, I didn't have a great look at it but I thought the officials did a nice job."

Wilson appeared slightly more willing to criticise, hinting that Kupp may have been guilty of offensive pass interference through a push-off.

"Yeah, I mean, Cooper came up to me and tried to push off of me and I thought I made a good play on the ball and the refs saw otherwise so, it's a tough call," said Wilson.

Joe Burrow was sacked a Super Bowl-record seven times as a much-maligned offensive line fell apart in the second half, the Bengals quarterback left hobbled after appearing to injure his knee.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald clinched victory by powering past Quinton Spain to force a desperation heave from Burrow on a do-or-die fourth down on the final drive that came up short of Samaje Perine's clutches.

On the severity of Burrow's injury, Taylor said: "It's hard to know, he was able to play and I'm just calling the plays at that point, we'll find out more. 

"I thought in the first half of this game the protection was tremendous, then in the second half we called some passes and it got difficult.

"We'll have to see how they all played out, everyone's gonna say it's the offensive line, we've gotta see exactly how that played out. We don't ever want our quarterback to get hit but that's life in the NFL sometimes.

"It's hard to lose really on the last play of the game, we were moving the ball we feel like to win the game, not tie it, we were gonna try to go win it, been working for the last six months, play 21 games to lose the Super Bowl, it's not a lot of fun."

Joe Burrow is confident the Cincinnati Bengals will get more opportunities to win a first Super Bowl after they came up just short against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bengals led for almost the entire second half at SoFi Stadium, but Matthew Stafford's clutch touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp secured a 23-20 Rams win.

This was the Bengals' third appearance in the Super Bowl and their third defeat, although this young team ended a 31-year drought in terms of playoff wins.

Burrow, therefore, expects the Bengals to kick on and find motivation in the pain of defeat.

"It hurts," he told a news conference. "We put a lot of work into going out there and executing and performing well, and it didn't turn out the way we wanted, so it's disappointing."

Burrow added: "We're a young team, so you'd like to think we'll be back in this situation multiple times over the course of the next few years.

"We take this and let it fuel us for the rest of our careers."

The Bengals' inability to protect their quarterback was key to their loss, with Burrow taking a record-tying seven sacks – one of which left him hobbling.

Burrow said his knee "feels good", however, and refused to blame his offensive line, focusing instead on his own display.

"I was disappointed with my performance overall," he said. "I thought I could have played better, given us a better chance to win, but you live and you learn."

Burrow, who finished with 263 yards and a single touchdown on 22-of-33 passing, tried to focus on the positives, citing a quote from former quarterback Kurt Warner who had "let [defeat] sting too much and didn't celebrate what they accomplished".

"Obviously it stings, but we had a great year," Burrow said. "We didn't come out of this last game the way we wanted to, but we still have something to celebrate."

The abiding image of Super Bowl LVI looked as if it would be the sight of Odell Beckham Jr. in tears on the sideline, desperately disappointed at being unable to help his Los Angeles Rams team-mates as they laboured against the Cincinnati Bengals in his absence forced by a knee injury suffered in the second quarter.

Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald refused to let that be the case.

As they have done throughout a rollercoaster 2021 campaign, the Rams' two biggest stars stepped up to ensure the loss of the one they acquired in a blockbuster midseason signing would not prove decisive, once again rising to the occasion to propel the franchise to its first Super Bowl title in Los Angeles with a 23-20 win at their SoFi Stadium home, which was awash with Bengals fans.

Until the penultimate drive, the injury to Beckham, who scored the Rams' first touchdown, appeared set to be the turning point. After he limped off the field, the Rams saw a drive end in points just once, kicking a field goal in the third quarter to trim the Bengals' lead to 20-16. Other than that, their offensive series in the wake of Beckham's injury produced a pair of interceptions and four punts.

Having enjoyed a stunning postseason, Matthew Stafford was struggling for chemistry with any of his receivers minus the attention Beckham commands. It was a problem the Rams did not look like solving, but the solution ultimately proved a simple one, as they reverted to a policy that has often served them well this season on the final drive: feed Kupp.

Kupp had touched the ball just twice after Beckham went down. A lack of involvement for the Offensive Player of the Year and now Super Bowl MVP was never likely to produce the desired result for the Rams, so on fourth and one with the game on the line they made sure the ball ended up in his hands, Kupp coming across the formation and receiving a hand-off from Stafford that he took for seven yards.

From there, the final drive was the Kupp show, the wide receiver's final act of one of the most exciting seasons of recent memory sure to be one that will live in NFL lore.

Kupp racked up 46 scrimmage yards as he was targeted six times by Matthew Stafford, those targets resulting in 39 yards, two critical penalties and, most importantly, a leaping grab in the endzone that finally ended the Rams' wait for a title in the city they returned to in 2016 after over two decades away.

A key defensive holding call against Logan Wilson on third and eight from the Cincinnati eight-yard line was dubious, while a pass interference penalty on Eli Apple that put the ball on the one-yard line was more obvious, but there was no doubt about the quality from Kupp as he sold Apple an inside release and then adjusted perfectly to a back-shoulder throw from Stafford to erase the Bengals' 20-16 lead.

As he did in the Divisional Round and the Conference Championship, Kupp had struck a telling blow, but the Rams needed a closer on defense with a Bengals reply initially looking promising. Enter Donald.

The man most consider the best player in the NFL hadn't quite succeeded in wrecking the game even as a much-maligned Bengals offensive line disintegrated in the second half and left Joe Burrow hobbled, yet he saved his best for the most significant play of the game on a do-or-die fourth down for Cincinnati, powering past Bengals left guard Quinton Spain with a two-hand swipe move and flinging Burrow to the turf as he let loose a desperation pass that fell short of Samaje Perine.

It meant that tears of joy from Beckham – rather than his earlier anguish – would, along with that of Donald gesturing to put a ring on his finger, be one of the abiding images from a game that saw Sean McVay become the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach in NFL history.

The Rams' road to Super Bowl glory has come the hard way, Los Angeles becoming the first team to win three successive postseason games by three points or fewer, and there has been a common thread across each of those wins. When they have needed them the most, the Rams have seen their stars – be it Stafford, Kupp and Beckham on offense or Donald and Co. on defense – deliver.

As a franchise, the Rams have eschewed the traditional team-building methods, trading away draft pick after draft pick to build a top-heavy roster and inviting scrutiny with each setback the team suffered as a result. In Kupp and Donald, though, it is two homegrown draft picks who have ensured those stumbles and any questions about the construction of their roster can now be forgotten, with the Rams free to enjoy the feeling of vindication for the next six months.

Los Angeles went off-script to build a perennial playoff contender and, thanks to that approach and the Rams' ability to come through in a cliffhanger, it is the team from the city of stars that ends the year outshining all others.

Sean McVay described the nature of the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl LVI triumph as "poetic" after they came up big on offense and defense to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Rams – playing at their SoFi Stadium home – had led in the first half before Odell Beckham. Jr, who scored the opening touchdown, departed with a knee injury.

The Bengals took control for a period and had a four-point advantage inside the two-minute warning.

But a record-breaking 15-play go-ahead drive ended with Matthew Stafford throwing a TD pass to Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp.

There was still work to do on defense, with the Bengals within a field goal of overtime, yet Aaron Donald stuffed the run on third-and-one and then forced an incompletion on fourth down to clinch victory.

McVay considered the dramatic conclusion fitting for his team, who became the first to win three games by three points or fewer in the same postseason thanks to this 23-20 success.

The coach, who reserved praise for the "great job" from Stafford and Kupp, who "took over the game", said: "It feels outstanding.

"You talk about a resilient team, coaches, players, I'm so proud of this group, just proud to be associated with it.

"We talk about competitive greatness all the time, being your best when the best is required. For the offense to be able to find the way and then Aaron to be able to finish it off, it's poetic."

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