But here’s what Ram fans don’t know, yet was something the new QB1 revealed following the 34-14 romp: Stafford didn’t see one of his own touchdowns unfold in its entirety.
And the long distance explosion he’s referring to? This dime to Cooper Kupp:
Why Stafford Didn’t See TD Pass
How is it that the man who fired the 56-yard bomb wasn’t able to watch his own firework show on that play, yet 70,445 sets of eyes inside SoFi Stadium saw the highlight reel worthy moment play out?
Stafford hit the grass. That’s why.
“I mean I got hit a little bit late,” Stafford told the L.A. media after the game. “I didn’t know there was a penalty until 10 minutes later. But I got hit and kind of rolled over, tried to get up as fast as I could to see if it was a good one.”
What was the image Stafford was able to make out from the ground?
“And then, I saw him (Kupp) trotting in the end zone,” Stafford said.
Chicago pulled a defensive lineman twist with Akiem Hicks leading the charge. The much larger 6-foot-4, 335-pound Hicks, exploding off the snap as the zero technique lineman (head up on the center), circles around center Brian Allen and right guard Austin Corbett on the play. He’s the lone defender who manages to get in the face of the former NFC North quarterback. The play was helped illustrated here by this tweet graphic from the Next Gen Stats Twitter account.
However, here’s what’s also described in that play: The astonishing 11.3 yards of separation Kupp has on the Bear defense. Here’s a sky view shot of the score.
Stafford didn’t see the epic separation and completed bomb. But he did hear the roar from the fans afterwards.
“I figured it was in a good spot but didn’t get to see it all the way,” Stafford said. “It seemed like it was a good one.”
Kupp Downplays His Own TD Catch
Obviously, an explosive play like that leaves jaws dropping, fans and pundits tweeting and defensive coaches spewing out frustration.
“It was really just about running down the middle of the field,” Kupp told reporters.
However, Kupp wasn’t a man of a few words after that answer. He went on to explain how the Rams’ WR unit is built to break off plays like his own touchdown.
“In a perfect world, every receiver you put out there is a threat to be able to get over the top,” Kupp said. “The more you can do, the easier it is for us as receivers, knowing defenses aren’t locked into us having certain roles or certain routes. Luckily, Van (Jefferson) and I were the recipients this week. But every week, I think it’s just going to be about who ends up happening to have their number called for those shots and making the most of them when they come.”