Thousands of watchful eyes, even several bags of popcorn being rung up at the snack bar, are likely imminent when two stars will enter a venue known to attract stars outside of the gridiron…and finally face off with one another that will have their version of action sequences bound to unleash cheers.
Those who love a good movie blockbuster and an epic wide receiver versus cornerback showdown are about to have both intertwined — in the form of the Rams’ coverage destroyer Cooper Kupp versus the $6 million route and aerial disruptor on the Cowboys Trevon Diggs.
And Kupp acknowledged the two haven’t crossed paths before, but will finally face off in the latest highly-anticipated receiver versus cornerback battle.
Kupp has snatched 42 passes through four games to get to this matchup on Sunday, October 9 inside the “Rams House” and 11.5 miles away from Hollywood. He’s delivered three double-digit catch games and is already on pace to shatter his 145 catches of a season ago.
Diggs has erased big plays and deep routes as one of the league’s fastest rising talents.
However, what has the Super Bowl 56 Most Valuable Player seen out of Diggs?
Kupp on Diggs
Speaking with reporters including Heavy on Rams inside the locker room at the Rams’ Thousand Oaks practice facility on Thursday, October 6, Kupp finally got the chance to chime in on the fast-rising 24-year-old.
“He’s a real good athlete. Obviously he’s got a nose for the ball,” Kupp said. “He’s one of the guys who, with some of the best DBs who played in this league, what’s some of the great traits about him is that he doesn’t just break up the pass but he gets interceptions. That’s something he’s shown to do.”
While Kupp became the league’s triple crown leader in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, it was Diggs snatching the ball from quarterbacks with a league-high 11 interceptions — the most by a defender since Hall of Famer Mel Blount in 1975.
Diggs additionally put together a streak of six straight games with a pick, which once threatened Tom Morrow’s record of eight.
Diggs has 13 takeaways in his last 20 regular season games.
How Both Matchup
Is Diggs the guy who can swat and steal the ball in front of Kupp, especially if targeted four times by Matthew Stafford with Kupp as the primary go-to?
There are reasons that point how both are identical. Both stand at 6-foot-2. The two know how to time their jumps for the big play.
But this season, Diggs has done the following against the Pro Bowl or top wideout on the opposite side per Pro Football Focus:
Mike Evans: The four-time Pro Bowler for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was held to two catches for 24 yards.
Ja’Marr Chase: Last season’s bionic Pro Bowl rookie who helped spearhead the Cincinnati Bengals’ AFC title run caught just two passes for 14 yards in Week 2.
Diggs, however, will have to find a way to be ten toes down and maintain his feet against a master of releases:
Who Has Advantage?
Kupp may own the Super Bowl ring. But this version of the Rams offense hasn’t captured the high-octane ways of 2021.
This unit has already been held to 20 points of fewer in three of four games. But most telling — the Rams are 28th overall in total offense, making them the worst among NFC West teams.
The Sunday matchup presents a great opportunity to finally deliver the blockbuster offense Ram fans have paid money to see. But Kupp and company will have to do it against the league’s fifth-best passing defense at only allowing 684 yards (average of 171 yards per game).
Kupp has seen Dallas get to the ball in the times he’s watched them on film. He is also expecting the Cowboys to play man-to-man and challenge guys. But lastly, he’ll aim to put together one epic reel for the cameras capturing his scenes facing Diggs and company. And this challenger for one week only is already ahead of others in Kupp’s eyes.
“I think with what Diggs has done through this year and last year, he’s put himself a little ahead of other guys in terms of what he can do in taking the ball away,” Kupp said.