The Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams face off in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. Even though both teams have been in the merged NFL for more than 50 years, this will be only their 15th meeting.
The Bengals hold an 8-6 lead in a series that has seen some great games. Here are the five best.
5. Cincinnati Bengals 20, St. Louis Rams 13
Dec. 18, 2011 – St. Louis, Mo.
The Bengals were 7-6 and vying for a playoff spot and the Rams were 2-11. Cincinnati jumped out to 20-6 fourth-quarter lead thanks to touchdown runs by Bernard Scott and Cedric Benson, but St. Louis made it respectable with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Clemens to Danario Alexander with a little over a minute remaining.
4. Los Angeles Rams 24, Cincinnati Bengals 14
Sept. 23, 1984 – Cincinnati
Eric Dickerson rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown during his record-breaking season, but his three fumbles helped Cincinnati stay in the game. Rams quarterback Jeff Kemp (son of Jack Kemp) hit Ron Brown for a 52-yard touchdown pass and Mike Lansford kicked a 29-yard field goal to take a 17-7 lead with 4:15 remaining. Ken Anderson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cris Collinsworth to close the lead to 17-14, but Los Angeles running back Mike Guman scooped up the onside kick and ran it 43 yards into the end zone to seal the victory.
3. Cincinnati Bengals 20, Los Angeles Rams 19
Dec. 11, 1978 – Los Angeles
The Rams were 11-3, having clinched the NFC West, while the Bengals entered their "Monday Night Football" matchup at 2-12. Los Angeles jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead on two Frank Corral field goals and a 14-yard touchdown by Terry Nelson on an end-around play. However, Cincinnati would not quit, and Ken Anderson hit Isaac Curtis with a 46-yard touchdown pass and Pete Johnson scored on a two-yard run to cut the lead to 16-14 going into the half. The Bengals finally took the lead on a 42-yard Matt Bahr field goal with 2:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. On the next possession, Cincinnati safety Dick Jauron intercepted Pat Haden’s pass to clinch the win.
2. Cincinnati Bengals 34, Los Angeles Rams 31
Oct. 7, 1990 – Anaheim, Calif.
Cincinnati celebrated its first appearance in Anaheim Stadium by jumping out to a 21-0 advantage and leading 28-14 with a little more than five minutes left in the third quarter. Then Los Angeles responded with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jim Everett to Damone Johnson and a one-yard touchdown run by Cleveland Gary to tie the game. The teams traded field goals and were tied 31-31 at the end of regulation. Facing fourth-and-1 on the Bengals 47-yard line in overtime, Rams head coach John Robinson opted to punt. Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, who finished with a career-high 471 yards, drove his team 63 yards down the field and Jim Breech booted the 44-yard game-winner.
1. Los Angeles Rams 15, Cincinnati Bengals 12
Oct. 22, 1972 – Los Angeles
From the score, this looks like it was a field goal-fest. In actuality, Los Angeles led 12-0 in the third quarter thanks to a one-yard touchdown run by Willie Ellison, a 37-yard field goal by David Ray, and a safety when Neil Craig picked up a muffed punt return and was tackled by Joe Sweet in the end zone. The Bengals must have been taking copious notes because they responded with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Virgil Carter to Bob Trumpy, a 25-yard field goal by Horst Muhlmann, and a safety when defensive end Sherman White sacked quarterback Roman Gabriel in the end zone with 3:56 left. The Rams got the ball back on their own 13-yard line with 35 seconds remaining and Ellison busted free for two runs of 15 yards apiece and Gabriel hit Lance Rentzel for a 17-yard pass to the Cincinnati 40-yard line. A personal foul moved the Rams to the 25 and Ray kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. Perhaps the sickest player in the Bengals' locker room was Muhlmann, who missed three field goals.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.