Cooper Kupp has dominated the NFL’s coverage of the league’s top receivers this season, just as he has dominated nearly every defense that has tested him this year. Nearly. Kupp has made history this season with at least 90 yards in 11 of 12 games and there is only one exception in the lot.
He’ll get his opportunity to atone for his worst performance of 2021 when the LA Rams face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday.
Kupp’s 13 targets against the Cardinals in Week 4 is tied for his season-high, but he finished with only five catches for 64 yards, no touchdowns, and one drop. Kupp did have a 35-yard reception on third-and-very long, but that leaves him with barely more than 2 yards per target on his other opportunities.
Wow, what a throw from Matthew Stafford threading it through the defense deep down field to Cooper Kupp. 35 yard reception on third and 16. Kupp held on in tight coverage.— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 3, 2021
This is not to take anything away from a receiver playing better than any other in the NFL. I’m sure that Kupp would agree that he needs to do better against Arizona than he did his previous time out and now would be an excellent time for him to post his first career 100-yard game against the Cardinals.
He’s not the only one who needs to step up from his Week 4 game if the Rams want to pull one game closer to the NFC West lead.
Raheem Morris, defensive coordinator
Copy. Paste. Repeat, right?
The Cardinals went three-and-out on their opening drive in Week 4, then followed that up with drives that went for 87 yards, 75 yards, and 21 yards, all ending in touchdowns. Following one more three-and-out drive, Arizona went 70 yards, 38 yards, 64 yards, and 94 yards, scoring on all four possessions for a total of 16 more points.
The Cards won 37-20 and rushed for 216 yards on 40 carries. LA allowed Arizona to convert eight-of-13 third down attempts, including a brutal 18-yard scramble by Kyler Murray on third-and-16.
3rd and 16, Kyler Murray is unfair. pic.twitter.com/9mNlSE57OP— Around The Block - Arizona Cardinals (@Cardinals_ATB) October 4, 2021
These lapses can’t happen on Monday.
Taylor Rapp, S
This could have just as easily applied to David Long, if we were expecting David Long to see the field again. Long allowed six catches on six targets, going for 92 yards and a touchdown. Putting in Dont’e Deayon, Robert Rochell, or Darious Williams has been at best an inconsistent result this year.
But one consistent every game is that safety Taylor Rapp will play virtually every down, so he needs to do better than what we’ve seen in most of those games, including against Arizona in Week 4.
Rapp allowed four receptions on five targets, going for 48 yards and a touchdown; he was also credited with a missed tackle.
Back to David Long thoughts, here are some other players who played in Week 4 who won’t or may not see considerable action in Week 14: Kenny Young (nope), Terrell Lewis (where is he?), Justin Lawler, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Robert Woods, Johnny Mundt, DeSean Jackson. There have been considerable changes.
Matthew Stafford, QB
Of course, nobody needs to step up against the Cardinals more than Stafford. He has been extraordinarily consistent in one regard: When he stinks, the Rams stink and when the Rams stink, he stinks.
Stafford’s four lowest-rated games of the season are all four losses that LA has suffered thus far. In those games, Stafford has thrown seven touchdowns, six interceptions, and lost one fumble. He has thrown three pick-sixes in those games as well.
He went just 26-of-41 against Arizona and his two most successful drives came in the fourth quarter, when the Rams were down 34-13.
Stafford can not allow LA to fall into a three-touchdown hole again. He has to be the reason that the Rams are leading, he can’t just let his end-of-game stats be a symptom of his poor play in the first half.