After Rams beat Seahawks, maybe we need to examine Cooper Kupp's MVP résumé

·4 min read

A wide receiver has never won NFL MVP. Even the great Jerry Rice never pulled it off. 

It probably won't happen this season either, but that's not Cooper Kupp's fault. Kupp's remarkable season continued on Tuesday night, and at some point his MVP candidacy needs to be examined. 

Kupp scored a pair of touchdowns to help the Rams to a big win in the NFC West race. They beat the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in a game that was rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Rams. Kupp had nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Kupp has a shot to break NFL season records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns this season. 

Matthew Stafford was supposed to be the key figure to the Rams being a Super Bowl favorite, and the team's MVP candidate. It turns out, the guy Stafford throws the ball to most has the better MVP case. 

Cooper Kupp has another huge game

Kupp has 90 or more receiving yards in 10 straight games, and that's an NFL record. He had more than 90 yards in the first three games this season as well, so he has reached the 90-yard mark in 13-of-14 games. That's ridiculous. 

Calvin Johnson has the single-season NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards. Kupp has the advantage of a 17th game this season, but he might not need it to beat Johnson's mark. With Kupp's big night Tuesday, he has 122 catches, 1,625 yards and 14 touchdowns. Randy Moss has the most receiving touchdowns in a season with 23, and it's a stretch to think Kupp can beat that. But he has a great shot at getting the 340 yards he needs to beat Johnson's yardage record. Getting 28 catches to beat Michael Thomas' record of 149 is in range. If Kupp keeps up this pace, he'll finish with numbers that give him an argument for the greatest season a receiver has ever had. 

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are battling for MVP, and there's a very good chance one of them wins it. Running back Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts has a great case too among non-QBs, and running backs have at least won the award before. 

But voters are going to have take a long, long look at perhaps giving MVP to a receiver for the first time ever. 

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had another big night in his historic season. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had another big night in his historic season. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Rams pull off big win over Seahawks

The Rams started slow. That's not too surprising for a team whose past week was disrupted by players going on the COVID-19 reserve list. 

Los Angeles didn't score a touchdown in the first half. Neither offense did much. It was 3-3 at halftime, and then Seattle scored on a long drive to take a 10-3 lead. Stafford led a drive right after that, hitting Kupp for a touchdown to tie the game. 

Kupp gave the Rams the lead early in the fourth quarter. Stafford found him over the middle for a 29-yard score. It's not like the Seahawks didn't know Kupp was going to get the ball. It's not like the Rams' first 13 opponents didn't know the same thing. It's just that nobody can cover him this season. Kupp does most of his work from the slot but he's the rare slot receiver who can also beat a defense deep. 

The Rams are now tied with the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West, thanks to the Cardinals' shocking loss to the Detroit Lions. The Rams have a fairly tough remaining schedule (at Vikings, at Ravens, versus 49ers) and have a worse division record than the Cardinals so there could be some tiebreaker issues for them. But they're not in a bad place with three games to go. 

A lot of people expected the Rams to win the NFC West, and for Kupp to be a part of that. Nobody assumed Kupp would be the biggest part of a good season.  

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