Well, the good news for Rams fans is that I’m here to remind everyone.
Kupp’s 2021 season was arguably the best ever for a wide receiver. He won the triple crown by hauling in 145 receptions for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was five receptions shy of breaking the all-time record held by Michael Thomas and 18 yards shy of breaking Calvin Johnson’s receiving record.
For reference, Minnesota Vikings star Justin Jefferson was the top wide receiver in 2022 and is a finalist for MVP. He had 17 fewer receptions, 138 fewer yards and eight fewer touchdowns than Kupp did a year ago.
The MVP award always goes to a quarterback so naturally Kupp came in third behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, but in retrospect (and at the time), he absolutely should have won the award for doing what he did basically out of nowhere.
Don’t get me wrong, Kupp had some quality seasons before 2021. But the addition of Matthew Stafford helped take him to the next level as not a soul in the world could have predicted the type of season he had.
Kupp’s worst regular season game came in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals when he had five receptions for 64 yards. That was his WORST game and if you average it out over 17 games he still would have had 85 receptions for 1,088 yards.
Outside of that game, Kupp had at least six receptions and 92 yards every single week. He had a touchdown in all but six games and two touchdowns in five of them. An absolute machine.
The dominance continued in the postseason
And Kupp’s dominance did not stop with those regular season numbers. He was arguably even better when the lights were brightest in the postseason:
If you average his playoff stats out to a 17-game regular season, he would’ve had 140.25 receptions for 2,031.5 yards and 25.5 touchdowns. His playoff run, when games are supposed to be harder and defenses are supposed to be tougher, would have broken the NFL record for receiving yards and touchdowns!
And while stats are great, it’s the context of how Kupp got them that makes his run even more impressive.
The Rams almost totally imploded against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Round. After leading 27-3, L.A. allowed Tampa Bay to come all the way back at tie the game at 27 with 42 seconds left.
On the ensuing drive, Stafford took a sack on the first play and the Rams were forced to burn their final timeout. At that point, it would have made all the sense in the world to just take a knee and go to overtime.
That’s not what the Rams did though. Stafford found Kupp on a beautiful crossing route for 20 yards with him getting out of bounds. Then, Kupp ran a “For the Love of the Game” route, which is a deep ball that is meant to be a decoy and almost never gets thrown. Kupp was wide open though and Stafford found him for a 44-yard pass to set up the game-winning field goal.
Kupp finished that game with nine receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown, and the Rams needed every bit of it.
Cooper Kupp 2022 playoff stats were nuts
Then, the Rams hosted the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game the following week. It’s no secret that Kyle Shanahan has dominated Sean McVay in the regular season, but that wasn’t case in this game thanks to Kupp.
Whenever the Rams needed a big play, Kupp came through. He had 11 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns to help his team earn a huge comeback victory over their hated rivals and clinch a spot in the Super Bowl.
The lights don’t get any brighter than Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, and for a while, it looked like it was gonna be Odell Beckham Jr.’s day. The Rams’ No. 2 receiver caught the first touchdown of the game and was open on a variety of plays.
The only problem was that he wound up tearing his ACL early in the second quarter. So with that being the case, Stafford really only had one reliable receiver to throw to and that was Kupp.
And when the game was on the line in the final drive, it was Stafford and Kupp that came through when the whole world knew that was where the ball would be going. L.A. got the ball back trailing by four with six minutes to play and on that drive, Kupp ran for a first down on a jet sweep on fourth-and-one in their own territory and then caught four passes from Stafford, including a beautiful no-look throw across the middle and the game-winning touchdown on a fade route in the red zone.
Kupp finished the game with eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns, earning Super Bowl MVP honors. Just an incredible season from start to finish that shouldn’t soon be forgotten.