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Cooper Kupp's Historic Season Falls 18 Yards Shy of Breaking Receiving Yards Record, Secures Triple Crown

Cooper Kupp finished the 2021 regular season leading all wide receivers in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Matthew Stafford is no stranger to elite wide receivers. His time with Calvin Johnson peaked in 2012 when a 27-year-old Johnson broke the all-time receiving yards record with an absurd 1,964-yard season. His connection with the now Hall of Famer made for one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos of the 2010s.

After Johnson, Stafford still had a quality receiving core in Detroit. In 2017, Marvin Jones Jr. had a career year posting over 1,100 receiving yards, while Kenny Golladay did the same two years later. Both players have since left Detroit, securing large paydays in Jacksonville and New York.

Now in Los Angeles, Stafford has another elite wide receiver on his side. The potential of Cooper Kupp was always on display, but the inconsistency of Jared Goff combined with Kupp’s previous injuries limited his potential to showcase his fullest ability. Those days are no more, as Stafford and Kupp have transformed into the top quarterback-wide receiver duo in the NFL this season.

This season, Kupp earned the receiving triple crown, leading the league in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16). Kupp joined elite company, as only three other pass-catchers have accomplished this achievement: Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005).

Kupp's 145 receptions were 22 more than Davante Adams, who ranked second in that category, while Kupp’s 1,947 receiving yards were 300 more than Justin Jefferson’s second-place finish.

However, Kupp's 2021 campaign did finish 18 yards shy of breaking Johnson's single-season receiving record – also set with Stafford at quarterback. Nonetheless, it still was one of the most impressive seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history.

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Kupp also broke Rams' franchise records in receptions and yards, while shattering his own previous career-high. In 2019, Kupp posted 1,161 receiving yards, the 12th most in the league. Still, the inconsistency of Goff never allowed Kupp to reach his true potential as an elite receiver. Stafford has unlocked just that.

In the first round of the playoffs, Kupp will face off against the Arizona Cardinals secondary headlined by Budda Baker and Byron Murphy. The Rams hosted the Cardinals in Week 4, which saw that Cardinals leave with a convincing win, while holding Kupp to his worst game of the season. Despite seeing 13 targets, Kupp caught five passes for 64 yards. It was Kupp’s lowest total in both yards and catches on the season.

The Week 14 Monday night showdown in Arizona was one of Kupp’s best games of the year, bouncing back against the Cardinals' secondary. He secured 13 of 15 targets for 123 yards en route to a 30-23 win when it looked like the Rams were on the brink of being eliminated from the division race. After an undefeated December for the Rams and a sputtering finish for the Cardinals, the Rams find themselves hosting their division foe in the Wild Card Round.

Kupp’s historic season will not be forgotten anytime soon. The connection he showed with Stafford was unprecedented for the first year of a quarterback-wide receiver duo. The Rams can only hope their historical season continues deep into the postseason.


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