Los Angeles Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins never expected to play such a vital role in Super Bowl LVI. At least that’s what he figured with Kendall Blanton earning the starting nod with Tyler Higbee ruled out for the Big Game. Once a shoulder injury ended Blanton’s evening in the first half, Hopkins stepped up and never looked back.
When scouring through the box score, the tight end’s stats on paper aren’t all that impressive. Brycen finished the game with four catches for 47 yards, three of them going for crucial first downs. Despite his underrated performance, fans have argued that LA wouldn’t have won the Lombardi without him.
We lose the game without Brycen Hopkins. It took all 53. pic.twitter.com/omVjf2J13t— rams szn (@rams_szn) February 19, 2022
You know who else deserves a ton of credit? Brycen Hopkins, and the Rams coaching staff for making sure so many players are prepared to step in once injury happens.— SeattleRams (@seattlerams_nfl) February 14, 2022
After Blanton went down, Hopkins caught 4 for 47.
I don’t think people talk about how much Brycen Hopkins stepped up in that final drive enough— HoldenCantor (@HoldenCantor) March 26, 2022
Hopkins gave his all on the grandest stage when his number was called. It definitely isn’t a stretch to say the Rams would’ve lost the game without him. On a key 4th-and-1 play on what would become the game-winning drive, Brycen had a huge block for Kupp who ran for the first down. Without that block, the Bengals would’ve taken over on downs and run out the clock. It was a gutsy play call at the time but came with an even gutsier block since it had to be executed perfectly.
This team was so special because every player seized their opportunity. TE Brycen Hopkins is yet another great example, on the grandest stage. 47 yards on 4 receptions and critical block on 4th down for Cooper Kupp. Great performance & way to seize the moment @Itsbhop89! pic.twitter.com/8WYQLXAoY0— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) February 15, 2022
If healthy, Hopkins should have a larger role on offense in 2022 due to how he’s not a player defense coordinators are going to worry about when facing the Rams. All the focus will obviously be on Kupp and newcomer Allen Robinson so Brycen will slip right through the cracks.
At one point in the Super Bowl, Cincy’s fixation on Coop played into Hopkins’ hands. In this YouTube film study done by Jackson Krueger, from 1:50-2:35 in the video, Krueger analyzes how the tight end was able to get so open with Kupp lined up on that side of the field.
The rest of the video is worth checking out and should have Los Angeles fans salivating at his potential going into the upcoming campaign. McVay will carve out a role for Hopkins moving forward after his performance in the Super Bowl. It appears big things are to come for the young pass catcher. This fan on Twitter is banking on Brycen to become the Rams’ surprise difference maker for their title defense:
Who will be the Rams' surprising difference maker from start to finish in 2022?— Joe Baccamazzi (@JoeMazziFB) June 16, 2022
I'll start: The light bulb stays lit for Brycen Hopkins, and McVay gets back to heavy 12 personnel. pic.twitter.com/bjcVh936oo
As for me, I’m going to jump on the Brycen Hopkins bandwagon for 2022 and more LA fans should follow suit. Now I’m not saying to immediately go buy his jersey off NFL Shop after reading this, but just don’t be surprised if he performs way above expectations this season.
If the “next man up” mantra Brycen adopted in the Big Game is an indication of things to come, sign me up because I can’t wait to see how this ride ends up.