They raised the bar on Cooper Kupp and the Los Angeles Rams last weekend.
They cleared it rather nicely, thank you.
Going into last week’s game against the streaking New Orleans Saints, the Rams were coming off a lopsided loss at Minnesota, a game that also included Kupp’s first fumble.
For added pressure, the Rams lost leading receiver Robert Woods to a shoulder injury,
Surely this would be the week the Rams began a free-fall to the form of last year, when they finished 4-12.
Not a chance, especially with his grandfather Jake watching in the stands at the Coliseum.
Jake Kupp, a standout guard with the Saints from 1967-75, “told me to go out there and have fun,” Kupp said.
The former Eastern Washington star responded with a career-high eight catches for 116 yards. He also made a tough over-the-shoulder catch down the left sideline, good for 53 yards.
Kupp has handled doubt before, but self-doubt? Never.
“You can get down on yourself pretty quickly, I think, when things aren’t going your way,” Kupp said after the game, a 26-20 win that kept the Rams (8-3) a game ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West standings.
“It’s football,” Kupp said. “Go around this room and ask people what football has been like for them in terms of the ups and downs. I think that’s the great thing about this game – when things don’t go your way, you have to be willing to get back up on the horse.”
The Rams weren’t surprised.
“I think it’s just who he is as a human being. There was no doubt that he was going to respond in the right way,” coach Sean McVay said. “I’m not surprised at all – just proud of Cooper.”
Kupp also seems to be adjusting well to the longer NFL season. Of his 46 catches this year, 20 have come in the last three games, along with 227 of his 597 yards.
Coming off the Minnesota game, Kupp didn’t hesitate to lean on his teammates.
“I knew that Cooper was hungry for this all week,” offensive guard Rodger Saffold told the Orange County Register.
On Monday, Saffold approached Kupp to offer advice. “These things happen,” Saffold told him. During practice, in the days that followed, Saffold said that was Kupp asking more questions than usual.
“(Kupp’s) just continuing to get better and better,” McVay said. “He and Jared have a really good rapport. And he’s going to continue to be a big part of our offense for years to come.”
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