The 2022 NFL season has gotten off to a slow start for the Los Angeles Rams. LA was pummeled by the Buffalo Bills in the season opener, 31-10. The Rams haven’t looked great all-around, but the one constant has been Cooper Kupp’s production. In Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals, Kupp could become the first wide receiver in NFL history to have at least 75 receiving yards in 16 consecutive games.
This almost feels like a record that would’ve been shattered years ago, considering all the mega-talented and prolific receivers we’ve seen in the NFL just this century. Even excluding all the great WRs from before the year 2000, you’d think someone would’ve averaged at least 75 yards over 16 games. Nope. Kupp could become the first to accomplish that feat this week against the Cardinals.
How does Kupp stack up against the competition?
Kupp’s been a dominant force over the past few years and still doesn’t get the respect he’s earned. Since 2019, Kupp has led the league in receiving yards (4,318) and receptions (355). He’s third in receiving yards per game (86.4) and fourth in touchdown catches with 32. And Kupp also has a Super Bowl MVP award to his name.
Only Davante Adams, Mike Evans, and Tyreek Hill have more TDs than Kupp since ‘19. Before this season, you could argue that those three were catching passes from arguably three of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. That accolade is already cemented for the guys throwing passes to Adams (Rodgers before’ 22) and Evans.
For Kupp, it’s been either Jared Goff or Matthew Stafford getting him the ball in the city of angels. Stafford showed the world what he could do on a big stage last season with a well-equipped team around him by winning Super Bowl LVI. Goff has been a tier (sometimes two tiers) lower than Stafford most of his career but still an above average to good QB. Goff was able to help guide the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance himself back in 2018, falling short against the New England Patriots.
Neither Goff nor Stafford has been argued as the best QB in the league. Pretty good but not consistently great has been used to describe Kupp’s QBs during his time in the league. Yet, he continues to show us week after week why his name should be mentioned at the top of the WR mountain. Anytime the top receivers in the league are discussed, it’s rare to hear Kupp’s name mentioned first.
Sometimes we even hear less experienced receivers’ names before Kupp, like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Don’t get me wrong, both are great, but in Jefferson’s case, his production hasn’t exactly led to much winning in Minnesota. That doesn’t fall entirely on Jefferson but winning still matters.
There haven’t been many like Kupp
Most people aren’t used to seeing a dominant WR who’s also white in the NFL. The last white receiver to have a dominant stretch, even similar to Kupp’s, who wasn’t considered just a slot guy, was Jordy Nelson of the Packers some years back. Nelson had a stretch of four consecutive seasons where he averaged over 15 yards per reception, and one of those was over 18. But even Nelson wasn’t on Kupp’s level, as Jordy was never named All-Pro. Kupp’s already done that.
Then, of course, there’s Julian Edelman. The 11-year veteran was great in his own right, but seen mainly as a slot receiver. And there’s a debate over whether he’s even a Hall of Famer. Edelman won a lot in New England, but Brady and Bill Belichick had a lot to do with that and his progression as a receiver.
Here’s a testament to how good Kupp has been during his time with the Rams. Two games into his sixth NFL season, Kupp has over 5,700 yards and 457 receptions in his career. Edelman played 11 seasons and accumulated over 6,800 yards and 620 receptions. Edelman caught 36 TDs in his 11-year NFL career, while Kupp already has 43.
Domination is domination, no matter the source. Considering who’s been throwing Kupp the ball, his performance is even more impressive in comparison to the other WRs. Stafford’s been known to play catch with the other team and did it last year, but Kupp still won the triple crown for receiving. Kupp led all receivers in receptions, yards, and TDs last year.
Thus far, Kupp is picking up where he left off last season, entering Week 3, leading the league in receptions with 24, and tied for second in TDs with three. The way he’s playing, it looks like Kupp is here to stay as a major force in the league. And he doesn’t need the best QB in the league to do it.