Cooper Kupp crossed 1,000 yards and joined Jerry Rice as the fastest wide receiver to do so in nine games, plus went on to produce his second game of catching double digit passes for the Los Angeles Rams.
But there was no gloating or a pat on the back moment from him when addressing the L.A. media on Monday, November 8…not after being stunned against the Tennessee Titans 28-16 in front of the “Rams House” at SoFi Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
Kupp, who hauled in a season-high 11 catches for 95 yards in the loss, became the fastest receiver to hit the four-digit mark in 2021.
But again, there was no basking in the individual moment. Instead, the 28-year-old spent time pinpointing where the Rams can get better at — from executing on certain downs to executing what’s been a staple of the Ram wideouts.
Coming Back From ‘Behind the Sticks’
The Rams faced 15 third downs against Tennessee. But converted only four of those scenarios, giving them a 26.6% success rate.
Kupp pointed out those third downs saw the Rams fall “behind the sticks” as he said.
“I mean, there’s so many things that you know we can get better at. (But) we need to do great on third downs,” Kupp said to reporters during a video conference. “We got into too many situations where we were in second or third and long — the kind of situations where they’re known as passing downs. They did a good job of executing their game plan. We’ve got to do a better job executing ours. When you are behind the sticks, now you know they’re able to play even deeper so it takes longer to get down on the field.”
A main part of Kupp’s reasoning is the amount of sacks the Rams surrendered. The front five surrendered five sacks total. And, according to Next Gen Stats, the Titans only blitzed on four plays…allowing their front four to wreck havoc on Matthew Stafford and frustrate the offense.
The pass rush eliminated any potential of deep completions from Stafford’s arm. Plus took away another trait of the Rams’ offense.
Creating Explosives From Non-Explosive Plays
Since his time in Sean McVay‘s offense, Kupp and the Rams have prided themselves on creating a new play after the catch — another words, piling on the yards after touching the ball.
Per Pro Football Focus, the Rams managed to gain 175 yards after the catch. Kupp managed to lead the way with 68 in YAC, including on a double crosser highlighted by ESPN NFL Nation Titans reporter Turron Davenport.
However, the longest gain of the night came on a 26-yard tunnel screen to tight end Tyler Higbee. No completion stretched beyond 30 yards…a first this season for the Rams.
Kupp witnessed the Rams’ offense facing deeper safeties against the Titans. He looked back at Sunday’s loss believing the Rams need to be better at taking advantage of the extra real estate, even on third and longs.
“Some plays we can definitely make. But there’s also some stuff that you know we can catch the ball underneath. We’ve got to do a better job of creating explosives off of plays that aren’t really designed to be explosives,” Kupp said. “We take pride in running after the catch, being able to create plays on our own. We’ve got to do a better job of that especially when defenses give you that underneath stuff. We’ve got to be able to make them pay for it, not make it something where we’re having to take five yards over and over and over again. But we’re turning some of those small plays into really big plays.”
Where Do the Rams Go From Here?
A loss like this surely stings for the Rams, but Kupp loved teammate Andrew Whitworth‘s message afterward of “kids pout, men respond.” A message like that resonates with Kupp.
“When we have the right people, guys are going to be accountable to themselves. Guys are going to watch this film and say ‘these are the things that I know I can do better,'” Kupp said.
Kupp and the Rams have been lauded for their explosiveness. But after Sunday night’s showing, the game serves as a wake up call for No. 10 and company.
“We just have to execute our stuff better. That’s what it comes down to: Execute our stuff better,” Kupp said.