At approximately 5:15 p.m. PT, two of the league’s best — and two of the most talked about — wide receivers of 2021 will finally share the same field at Levi’s Stadium when the Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers.
Yes, it’s a Monday Night Football game that will feature the Rams’ debut of three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. But Deebo Samuel of the 49ers and Cooper Kupp of the Rams are the league’s leaders in receiving yards and have been putting together a career-best year to date…
And are considered threats to a nearly 10-year-old NFL record: Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s 1,964-yard season of 2012.
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Before this MNF matchup, I joined fellow Heavy analyst Brian Mazique on “I’m Just Saying” to break it all down. My feeling? The record will be among those that fall with the extra game. However…
“If it don’t happen in week 16, it don’t mean nothing to me,” was what Mazique said.
Here’s a further breakdown.
Record will Look More Impressive if it’s Before Game No. 17
I shared my fellow Heavy colleague’s feelings of the 17-game schedule: I’m not a fan of it. I’m used to 16 games. Seventeen makes it money motivated.
Here’s what we both brought up that I’ll bring here:
The 2012 record: “Megatron” earned his 1,964 yards in a 16-game schedule. However, Jerry Rice was the original record holder with 1,848 yards set in the 1995 season. Johnson entered game No. 15 for Detroit on December 22, 2012 against the Atlanta Falcons with 1,667 yards. He ended that home game by hitting 225 yards — shattering Rice’s record before the season-finale.
Here’s where things stand for both receivers beginning with Samuel:
Yards: Samuel enters Levi’s Stadium with 882 yards in eight games — giving him an average of 110.25 yards each game. In half of the 49ers’ games so far this season, Samuel has surpassed tripe digits in yardage. In tracing back to Johnson’s 2012 season, “Megatron” had the same number of 100-yard games in the halfway point of the 16-game season. However, Samuel has more yards in eight games than what Johnson had in his (767).
Future pass defenses: Including the MNF game, Samuel will face defenses that have already surrendered 2,147 aerial yards or more in eight games — from the Vikings all the way to the second-worst defense in passing yards allowed the Titans.
Now here’s where things are for Kupp:
Yards: Kupp is the league’s only 1,000-yard representative this season at 1,019. But that’s already through nine games and is averaging 113.22 yards a contest.
Future pass defenses: The 49ers have allowed the fewest passing yards this season at 1,652. Then the next week, Kupp and the Rams will face a Packers defense that’s surrendered the fifth-fewest aerial yards. Kupp is in for the challenge — and will also have to operate without Robert Woods helping clear space for him following Woods’ devastating ACL tear on Friday. But there’s still the projection that Kupp will be the league’s first 2,000-yard wideout.
Conclusion: Who Can Get It?
“You can’t ignore the math, it’s right there,” Mazique said in the video. He added that “Megatron” averaged 122.8 yards per season in the end of 2012. Both receivers are averaging below 115.
From what it looks like, these two wideouts will surpass 1,900 yards. Especially from the mathematics we’ve done. But who’s capable of getting the record?
“From a pure records standpoint, it’s very difficult to ignore the fact these guys played an extra game,” Mazique said. “I don’t know, that (the extra game) dulls it for me.”
I don’t agree with the extra game either. But regardless, this record will likely fall. It’s just a matter of who and when it does happen.
Oh, I went with Kupp because he has a quarterback in Matthew Stafford playing at an MVP level. Even with OBJ now in the lineup and “Bobby Trees” out for the year, Kupp is still the one the Rams want to get the ball too. While Jimmy Garoppolo has posted back-to-back 300 yard games, he’s been too hot and cold this season and that could prevent Samuel from hitting 2,000 yards or the record.
But again, the feeling is this: The record will be most impressive if it’s done before January 9, 2022.