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Kupp's late TD lifts Rams over Bengals in Super Bowl – CTV News




Their defence laying siege to the Bengals, the Rams needed something — anything — from their slumbering offence.

How about a precise 79-yard drive to the Lombardi Trophy?

It wasn’t a classic march, aided by three successive Bengals penalties and mired by some bad throws. No matter: When Cooper Kupp caught a 1-yard pass from Matthew Stafford with 1:25 remaining, LA’s offence indeed had awakened just in time for a 23-20 Super Bowl victory Sunday.

“That’s hard work, that’s hours together,” Stafford said. “I just thank coach (Sean McVay) for putting it … ‘Hey, Matthew, you and Coop go get this thing done.’ He kept calling plays for him, kept finding ways to get him the ball. He made unbelievable plays; that’s what he does.”

What Los Angeles did on that drive finally measured up to what its defence was doing most of the night: overwhelming Cincinnati’s blockers, sacking Joe Burrow a Super Bowl record-tying seven times. The pressure, led by Aaron Donald and Von Miller, was nonstop.

“You got to be relentless,” said Donald, who added a crowning achievement to his certain Hall of Fame career. “You want something bad enough you’ve got to go get it. You know it was right in front of us … all offseason you work, you train, you got camp, you got a long season just for this one game. You know we the last team standing.”

Standing in a venue built for champions, with the Rams (16-5) earning their first NFL title since the 1999 season — and their first representing Los Angeles since 1951.

They did so in their home, the US$5 billion SoFi Stadium, making the Rams the second consecutive host to win the championship after Tampa Bay became the first a year ago.

“As far as building this stadium,” said Rams owner Stan Kroenke, the man who moved them back from St. Louis in 2016, “I think it turned out all right.”

The winning series, during which game MVP Kupp’s 4-yard touchdown reception was negated by offsetting penalties, ended soon after with the NFL Offensive Player of the Year easily beating Eli Apple in the right corner of the end zone for the winning score.

Kupp had four receptions for 39 yards, and a 7-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Rams 30 on the championship drive.

Cincinnati (13-8) was penalized the second-fewest times (72) for the fewest yards (620) in the regular season but flags hurt badly — including pass interference on Kupp in the end zone.

“I’ve said it all year, whatever is asked of me whatever my job is gonna be, I just want to execute to the best of my abilities,” said Kupp, who won the triple crown of receiving in 2021, leading in catches, yards and touchdowns. “I trust as the game goes on I’ll have opportunities as well, and I just want to stay ready for those things stay locked in.”

As locked in as that pass rush.

Fittingly, Burrow was under pressure on fourth-and-1 and threw incomplete, setting off a football fiesta this city has not seen since the LA Raiders won the 1983 championship.

A tearful Donald said after the game, “I wanted it so bad. I dreamed this.”

Added McVay, at 36 the youngest Super Bowl-winning head coach: “For the offence to be able to find a way, and then Aaron to be able to finish it off, it’s poetic, man.”

Ten points because of two plays in a span of 22 seconds at the outset of the third quarter put Cincinnati ahead for the first time.

Tee Higgins’ 75-yard score made it 17-13 and was followed one play later by Chidobe Awuzie’s pick. Evan McPherson tied Adam Vinatieri’s postseason record with his 14th field goal, a 38-yarder. The rookie didn’t miss in the postseason.

Higgins beat All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey on the first play of the second half — the receiver clearly tugged Ramsey’s face mask on the play. After Stafford was intercepted on the next play, the Bengals got McPherson’s field goal.

They tried to hold on as all of southwest Ohio held its breath.

“I was disappointed in my performance overall,” said Burrow, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year who was 22 of 33 for 263 yards and a touchdown. That’s going to propel us into next year … we’re not satisfied with what we did this year.”

Not after the 15-play march in which Kupp also converted a fourth down with his run.

“We wanted to be in attack mode and pressure them as much as possible,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.”

Kupp even earned the MVP honour despite often being double-teamed after fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr. — who had a touchdown catch on Los Angeles’ second drive for the game’s first score — went out with a knee injury in the second period. Kupp finished with eight receptions for 92 yards.

One fear for Rams followers was ill-advised throws by Stafford, and he had two. His deep pass moving left was picked in the end zone late in the first half by Jessie Bates III. On his second interception, rookie Ben Skowronek could only deflect it –directly to Awuzie.

Other than Matt Gay’s 41-yard field goal later in the third quarter, it was all defence until the Rams’ decisive drive.

“World champs, baby!” McVay proclaimed.

Energized from the outset, the crowd of 70,048 at the stadium that opened in 2020 roared to introductions of each team by The Rock. Then the Bengals fans, far louder than their Rams counterparts early on, got to rocking when Trey Hendrickson sacked Stafford, leading to a punt.

LA’s defence responded by holding on third and fourth downs with a yard to go at midfield. Ernest Jones knocked down a pass for Ja’Marr Chase to turn over the ball, and the excellent field position set up the first touchdown.

Beckham, who joined the Rams in Week 10 after being exiled from Cleveland, easily beat Mike Hilton on a corner pattern for the 17-yard score. Then Beckham showed off his moonwalk in the end zone.

Kupp’s first touch was a short throw from Stafford he turned into a 20-yard gain when Bates III fanned on a tackle. That would not be the last whiff by the Bengals, and it cost them mightily at the end.

The most intriguing matchup, Offensive Rookie of the Year receiver Chase against All-Pro Ramsey, got real juicy late in the opening quarter. Chase brilliantly tracked Burrow’s throw and made a one-handed grab over Ramsey for a 46-yard gain to the LA 11. The drive went no further and McPherson made a 29-yarder.

Beckham took advantage of two defenders colliding to pick up 35 yards on the next drive, Darrell Henderson got 25 while covered by Hendrickson dropping back — huh? — and Kupp was wide open in the right corner of the end zone for his 11-yard score.

“It just comes down to this team and the way we prepared, they way we loved on each other, trusted each other,” Kupp said.

As has been their wont when behind in the playoffs, though, the Bengals responded with a 75-yard drive capped by the trickery of Joe Mixon. He was so efficient running that the secondary was sucked in when Burrow handed off, and Mixon lobbed a 6-yard TD pass to Higgins.

It remained 13-10 until halftime, with Beckham’s left knee injury most notable; he had to be helped off the field and didn’t return.

Thanks greatly to Kupp, though, the Rams finished it off.

“We always talk about there’s something special about being a part of something bigger than yourself,” McVay said. “These guys play for one another.”

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UK government approves US$5.33 billion sale of Chelsea to LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly



London, United Kingdom (UK)- The UK government has formally approved the sale of Chelsea FC for US$5.33 billion to Todd Boehly, the co-owner of the LA Dodgers and Clearlake Capital, a Californian private equity firm.

As a result, this now brings Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of Chelsea, in which the club has won 21 trophies including five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues to an end.

“Late last night the UK government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea. Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea has been able to continue to play football, but we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.

Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war.

In addition, the steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for the necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation,” read a statement from the government.

The UK government sanctioned Abramovich on March 10, 2022, due to suspected links with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

This in turn led to several restrictions on the club such as the ability to buy or sell players and negotiate new contracts with players. However, due to the recent developments all of that is all about to change, a boost for Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, as he prepares for the 2022/23 season after finishing third and qualifying for next year’s Champions League in the 2021/22 season.

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Blues' head coach Craig Berube addresses Nazem Kadri threats: 'It's not a good thing' – The Athletic



St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube denounced social media threats made toward Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri Wednesday, days after the coach said he had ‘no comment‘ when he was first asked about them Monday.

“I’m not on social media. I was aware of a threat made to Nazem, not the racist stuff,” Berube told the media Wednesday. “In no way is it acceptable by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else for him to have to go through that. Being a Native American myself, I’ve heard it all, I’ve been around it.

“It’s not a good thing. So I just wanted to get that out there that there’s no room for it anywhere.”

Kadri was subjected to racist comments and threats on social media following a collision with Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington during Game 3 of the Blues-Avalanche second-round series. Following the game, Binnington threw a water bottle at Kadri as the Avs forward was being interviewed by TNT.

In Game 4, Kadri scored a hat-trick en route to a 6-3 Avalanche win over the Blues. Colorado can eliminate St. Louis Wednesday night in Game 5 with a victory.

(Top photo: Scott Rovak / NHLI via Getty Images)

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Instigator call the turning point in Rangers’ Game 4 win over Hurricanes –



Yep. They picked up right where they left off.

Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes ended with tensions high and there was some obvious carryover into Tuesday’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden that saw the Blue Shirts even the series with a 4-1 victory.

Whistles were few and far in between during a frenetic first half of the opening period as both teams traded chances. The Rangers controlled much of the high-paced action and eventually began winning more puck battles than the Hurricanes.

Then the key turning point of Game 4 occurred.

Jacob Trouba absolutely walloped Max Domi near the penalty boxes with a hard hit at the 11:38 mark.

Steven Lorentz was in the vicinity when the open-ice hit was delivered. Instead of merely taking Trouba’s number, Lorentz immediately came to the defence of his teammate and dropped the mitts with Trouba in a rare playoff scrap.

Trouba unquestionably contacted Domi’s head, just as the Hurricanes’ forward’s feet were sliding out from beneath him mind you, yet the officials deemed it a clean hit.

The sequence resulted in an instigator call on Lorentz.

Carolina’s bench, plus head coach Rod Brind’Amour, were visibly upset when Trouba only received five for fighting.

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant told the broadcast at the first intermission “it was a great hit” before adding “Domi had his head down a little bit.”

Domi, of course, was involved in the rough stuff at the end of that heated Game 3 over the weekend.

The instigator call certainly seemed to affect the Hurricanes on the penalty kill and the Rangers capitalized with Lorentz in his team’s locker room as part of the 2-5-10 he was assessed.

Carolina was relatively sloppy while a man down and a turnover in their own end led to a missed opportunity to clear the zone. That led to Adam Fox patiently making a cross-ice saucer pass to Andrew Copp who neatly slide the puck to Frank Vatrano and the winger beat Antti Raanta low glove to open the scoring.

Brind’Amour, while wanting his players to be more disciplined, was fairly subdued in his post-game comments. He did mention he thought Trouba should’ve been given a cross-checking minor for getting his stick up on Lorentz prior to the brief punch-up.

“We’re not out there to catch guys (with their heads down) or play stupid or anything like that,” Copp said of Trouba’s hit after the game. “We’re just trying to finish our checks when we’re there and play physical when we can and make smart decisions. At the end of the day, them taking the two minutes changed the course of the game. … It’s not headhunting at all. It’s a good hit and their response warranted a penalty.”

Copp added his second assist of the period moments later when Fox, who leapfrogged Cale Makar for the active post-season lead in points among blueliners, tipped in his fourth of the playoffs on a Ryan Lindgren shot.

Lindgren, who has been excellent for the Rangers since returning to the lineup, was named the second star thanks to his two-assist night. Copp and Vatrano, both acquired in March trades, were named first and third stars of the game, respectively.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around on the Carolina side of the equation, Raanta’s performance is not why the series is even as it shifts back to PNC Arena.

Raanta did allow four goals on 28 shots, sure, however he also made a handful of highlight-reel saves to keep his team in it.

Alexis Lafreniere and Artemi Panarin were both separately stopped by Raanta on breakaway backhand deke attempts and he flashed the leather on Chris Kreider, yet his best of the night was against Mika Zibanejad.

The bigger concern for Carolina continued to be the lacklustre power play. It was only 5-for-43 in the playoffs prior to Game 4 where the issues persisted.

Carolina didn’t have trouble entering the zone when a man up. It’s just they couldn’t do much beyond moving the puck around the perimeter once the zone was established.

Their first man advantage of Game 4 occurred midway through the second period although the best scoring chance and only shot on goal during that PP was generated by the Rangers.

Brind’Amour’s group couldn’t get anything going with Lafreniere in the box serving a goalie interference minor early in the final frame either and they finished the night 0-for-2.

The Hurricanes were down by three goals heading into the third period and to say putting three behind Ilya Shesterkin in a single period is a tall task would be an understatement.

The soon-to-be Vezina Trophy winner had his shutout bid ended by Teuvo Teravainen in the third but that’s all Carolina could muster.

Brind’Amour didn’t even bother pulling his goalie in the final few minutes with the score 4-1.

There was some more pushing and shoving at the final horn with Ryan Reeves giving Domi the business – which was likely more fallout from the Game 3 rough stuff – but nothing escalated further.

The Hurricanes are winless on the road this post-season but perfect at home so they’ll appreciate Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

This series is now officially a best-of-three.

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