There isn't a true midpoint in the season since the NFL added an extra week, but as the Rams sit with a 7-2 record entering Week 10, here are the team's 2021 midseason awards.
MVP: Matthew Stafford
There's been an abundance of players who've delivered in key moments for the Rams this season, but none have brought more value to the team than what Stafford has provided. The offense no longer is limited in what it's capable of achieving. In fact, almost to a fault at times, the Rams have gotten to pass dependent. Nonetheless, Stafford is unequivocally the team MVP, ranking first in passing yards (2,771), second in touchdowns (23) and first in QBR (69.7) among qualified quarterbacks. Stafford has been just as good – if not better – than perhaps what the team could have envisioned when they pulled off the blockbuster trade this offseason, and the Rams will continue to go as far as his contributions take them down the stretch.
Best Offensive Player: Cooper Kupp
Kupp has been as good as you could ask for in a No. 1 wide receiver. Kupp leads the NFL in receptions (74), yards (1,019) and touchdowns (10), putting his best foot forward for the case as the top wide receiver in football. Kupp has always been a notable playmaker in his first four seasons prior to this year, but the chemistry in which he and Stafford have developed through the early stages of working together has been second to none. Kupp has without a doubt been the Rams' best offensive player.
Best Defensive Player: Jalen Ramsey
There are a few nominees that could be given the nod of best defensive player for the Rams but after nine weeks of play, none have been as impactful as Ramsey. The two-time All-Pro cornerback has played outside along the boundary, inside at the star position while also showing he can be a downhill force in run support, delivering a thump to opposing ball carriers. As the Rams' secondary has been injury-riddled up to this point, Ramsey has been the glue on the backend. Now entering Week 10, Ramsey is on a trajectory of posting a career year, registering 46 tackles, six TFLs, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble thus far.
Top Rookie: Robert Rochell
The Rams have dealt with several injuries to its secondary, forcing the team to turn towards their youth. As a result, Rochell has started four games following Darious Williams' ankle sprain that landed him on short-term injured reserve. Rochell, who the Rams selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, has used his length and physicality to his advantage, registering 14 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. Rochell has held passers to a 57.1 completion percentage when targeting him across 21 attempts. While he's still getting acclimated to the NFL game, Rochell has shown the potential to be a sturdy NFL starter for years to come.
Rams' Wednesday Injury Report for NFC Championship vs. 49ers
The Rams have released its Wednesday injury report ahead of the NFC Championship matchup against the 49ers.
Tale of the Tape: Rams vs. 49ers NFC Championship
What do the numbers suggest about the Rams and 49ers matching up with one another in the NFC Championship?
Rams WR Cooper Kupp Named PFWA Offensive Player of the Year
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp adds to his hardware collection, taking home the Offensive Player of the Year award from the PFWA.
Biggest Surprise: Brian Allen
Allen, who missed the last year and a half as a result of injury, has battled his way back, earning the starting center spot in which he's held his own in the process. While this award is given to the player that has ultimately exceeded expectations, Allen has done that, holding an 81.3 run-blocking grade from PFF, which ranks sixth among centers. However, he's still been a work in progress in terms of his pass-blocking, earning a 56.1 grade while allowing five sacks. Nonetheless, two of Allen's five sacks came in last week's contest against the Titans. It was a game for him to forget, but from a big picture perspective, Allen's efforts this season shouldn't be judged off of one game. Certainly, he has room to grow but ultimately Allen has been a pleasant surprise among the middle of the Rams' offensive line.
Biggest Disappointment: Tutu Atwell
The Rams used their second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Atwell with expectations that he would serve multiple purposes – provide the team a deep threat as a pass-catcher and contribute on special teams as the kick and punt returner. Atwell suffered a Week 8 shoulder injury which will sideline him for the remainder of the season but the time in which he was on the field, his production was underwhelming given the expectations of such a high draft selection. Prior to going down with an injury, coach Sean McVay said publically that he would like to see more urgency from his rookie speedster. Atwell's shortened rookie campaign saw him finish the season without a reception, while averaging 17.4 yards on kick returns and 5.4 yards on punt returns.
Honorable Mention: Leonard Floyd
Floyd is having the best season of his career, logging 40 tackles, five TFLs, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble. The Rams gave him a hefty payday of $64 million across four years this offseason, and Floyd has lived up to the billing. Certainly, the attention that Aaron Donald draws from opposing defenses has elevated Floyd to greater heights, as is the case for Donald. Now penciling Von Miller into the fold, the Rams defensive line will be the most fierce pass-rushing unit in football.
More from Ram Digest:
- SI Power Rankings: Where do the Rams sit in Week 10?
- Sean McVay Provides Update on Matthew Stafford's Ankle
- Rams WR Jacob Harris Suffers Season-Ending ACL and MCL Injury
- 5 Takeaways From the Rams' Week 9 Loss to Titans
- Rams at 49ers Opening Odds: Point Spread, Over/Under, Moneyline
- Cooper Kupp Achieves Milestone Last Set by Jerry Rice
- Rams QB Matthew Stafford, Offensive Line Struggled in Primetime Loss to Titans
- Rams Can't Overcome Titans' Defensive Efforts in Week 9, Falling 28-16
- DeSean Jackson Signing With Raiders Following Release By Rams
- Sean McVay on if He'd Kick the Tires on Odell Beckham Jr.: 'I Would Never Say Never'