As I wrote earlier on Monday, NFL passing offenses are having unprecedented success this season and in recent years thanks to countless variables. Among those reasons for optimal movement through the air would be exceptional talent from those who are completing the receptions on the other end. In the case of the Los Angeles Rams and quarterback Jared Goff, the top two options there are also two of their highest paid players on the roster.
And of course, two of the most talented.
On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Cooper Kupp caught nine of 10 targets from Goff for 107 yards and a touchdown. It is the third time in his career that Kupp has caught at least 80-percent of his targets when he’s been targeted at least 10 times. He did so against what is expected to be one of the best secondaries in the NFL and his season totals through three games are:
18 of 21, 228 yards, one touchdown, 10.9 yards per target, 85.7-percent completions. Kupp has also carried the ball two times for 19 yards and if that isn’t interesting to you, consider that he had six carries in his career headed into this season. We knew that Robert Woods would be running the ball but now Kupp’s been involved two ways too.
Back in this thing! @JaredGoff16 ➡️ @CooperKupp for six!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 27, 2020
: FOX pic.twitter.com/xMH2oICVdY
Among wide receivers with at least 15 targets this year, Kupp ranks fourth in catch rate behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Keelan Cole and DeAndre Hopkins, who has caught 32 of 37 passes for 356 yards since joining the Arizona Cardinals.
This is interesting, per Robert Woods: Not only does Jalen Ramsey study the receivers around the league that he may match up against...he also studies all of the corners and works with Rams receivers on certain techniques to use against them.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 23, 2020
Kupp ranks tied for 19th in receiving yards with Cole Beasley, who put up 100 against the Rams this week, and he ranks 10th in Y/Target among receivers with at least 15 targets.
Not utilized in the passing offense quite as much as Kupp, Woods has nevertheless been a valuable asset again this season and he actually has more total yards than his teammate. Robert Woods has caught 13 of 19 opportunities for 193 yards and one touchdown but also carried it seven times for 63 yards and another score.
.@JaredGoff16 gets the throw off in time and @robertwoods does the rest. #RamsHouse— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2020
: #LARvsBUF on FOX
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/9RobDGGsOD pic.twitter.com/21XJwKiVDh
Woods has 256 total yards and he’s attempting twice as many runs per game as he did in 2018 and 2019. His catch rate of 68.4-percent would also be a career-high and he’s averaging 10.4 yards per target, keeping a close watch on Kupp’s average. I would also think that Woods is going to be among the NFL leaders in broken and missed tackles among receivers.
The Rams don’t necessarily need a permanent fixture as the number three option in the offense, but they also don’t seem to have a consistent threat there yet this season. Tight end Tyler Higbee did catch three touchdowns in Week 2, but was targeted only twice against Buffalo. Instead, Josh Reynolds caught four of five targets for 60 yards, but that has not been a consistent presence in the passing offense over the last three years. Van Jefferson is still acclimating to the NFL and was targeted only once against the Bills.
For now the Rams will have to settle for only two wide receiver superstars.