Well, we’re down to two. After 20 weeks of NFL football, the Bengals and Rams will play in two weeks for the Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl 56.
Unsurprisingly, both teams have remained healthy all year, save for a couple COVID-19 outbreaks late in the regular season.
To stay up-to-date on all of the latest injury information for the Super Bowl, check out our Super Bowl 56 Injury Report.
Without further adieu, here is a recap of the major storylines coming out of the Conference Championship:
Cincinnati Bengals Injury Recap
C.J. Uzomah is hopeful to play in the Super Bowl after suffering a knee injury against the Chiefs. The tight end suffered a sprained MCL early in the AFC Championship Game and returned to the sideline on crutches after halftime. Backup Drew Sample had just one catch for four yards despite playing 90-percent of the offensive snaps.
Tight ends were targeted 126 times against the Rams in the regular season this year, 10th-most in the NFL. George Kittle had just two catches for 27 yards against Los Angeles on Sunday, but the Buccaneers tight ends did catch six passes for 101 yards in the divisional round, albeit on 14 targets.
Los Angeles Rams Injury Recap
The Rams are also dealing with some tight end issues with Tyler Higbee dealing with a sprained MCL much like Uzomah. Higbee caught two passes for 18 yards before exiting against the 49ers.
The Rams turned to Kendall Blanton and he turned in a career performance. Blanton had five catches for 57 yards after recording just four catches in his career prior to the postseason.
Just like Uzomah, the Rams are cautiously optimistic that Higbee will be ready for the Super Bowl and that could be a huge bump against a Bengals defense that has struggled to contain opposing tight ends this year. Cincinnati allowed the fifth-most yards and fourth-most catches to tight ends in the regular season.
Defensively, Taylor Rapp is “turning the corner” and could be active for the Super Bowl after missing the entire postseason so far due to a concussion. The Rams have used Nick Scott and Eric Weddle at safety this postseason and the veteran Weddle produced a great game against San Francisco, recording five stops in the run game.
It’s also worth mentioning that Darrell Henderson and Sebastian Joseph-Day are both long shots to play against Cincinnati, but they do have a shot at being activated off the IR.
San Francisco 49ers (Eliminated)
Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to undergo surgery on his injured thumb early this offseason. The quarterback has been banged up most of the season, dealing with that thumb injury and a sprained shoulder.
It remains to be seen whether Garoppolo fits into the Niners plans for 2022, but there’s a good chance he’s dealt to a new team so Trey Lance can take over as the starting quarterback.
Elsewhere on the roster, Trent Williams was removed from the Pro Bowl due to his high ankle sprain. Williams struggled with the pain on Sunday, allowing a team-high five pressures. He should still be expected to protect Lance’s blindside next season.
Kansas City Chiefs (Eliminated)
The Chiefs didn’t have any media availability on Monday so we’re short on updates for Kansas City players. However, we do know that Chris Jones will sit out the Pro Bowl due to “injury.” Titans’ defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons will replace Jones on the AFC roster.