WR Cooper Kupp trusts in God through historic receiving season as Rams prepare for playoffs

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp took full advantage of the NFL’s new 17-game schedule and nearly rewrote the record book.

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Kupp finished the regular season with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns, all of which led the league. No other wideout had more than 123 receptions or 1,616 receiving yards.

He was just four catches shy of the all-time mark set by Michael Thomas in 2019 and 18 receiving yards away from setting a new single-season record (Calvin Johnson, 2012). Kupp is the fourth player since 1970 to win the receiving triple crown, joining Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005).

The 28-year-old hauled in seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ 27-24 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. His touchdown gave Los Angeles a 24-17 lead with less than three minutes left to play.

Despite the loss, the 12-5 Rams clinched their third NFC West title in the last five years thanks to the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The No. 4 seeded Rams will now host the Cardinals in the wild-card round Monday night.

“Obviously, you don’t want to take for granted the difficulty of winning a division title,” Kupp said after the regular-season finale. “At the same time, a loss never feels good. The focus is really on getting ready for next week, just being able to respond from this thing. We’re going to watch the film, make the changes that we need to and then be ready to respond with a great week of practice and play a very good Cardinals team.”

Kupp’s remarkable campaign got off to a fast start as he became the first player in franchise history to open a season with a receiving touchdown and at least 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games.

The former third-round pick out of Eastern Washington was asked after the team’s Week 2 win over the Indianapolis Colts if he felt underappreciated. He referenced Proverbs 16:9 and praised the preparation of his fellow wideouts in his response.

“Today, the verse that was on my mind was, ‘The heart of man chooses his path but the Lord establishes his steps,’” Kupp said. “It just gave me so much freedom to go out there and play free, give everything I had [and] know the results rested in Him.”

For the third year in a row, Kupp posted at least 90 receptions and 900 receiving yards while playing in at least 15 games. He was on pace for a 1,000-yard season in 2018 as well, until a torn ACL ended his year in Week 10.

Kupp watched from the sidelines as the Rams reached the Super Bowl that season, losing to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. His long rehab brought him closer to God and made him appreciate the support system around him.

“I needed God,” he said in a 2019 interview with Christian Broadcasting Network. “I needed to trust in what my faith was. Just having my wife and son to be able to push me through this, my teammates, the coaching staff, the training staff, the strength staff — I just had a team around me that encouraged me and really showed me how important it was to have people around me that God’s really placed in my life.”

The Rams and Cardinals play the final game of the wild-card round. Kickoff from SoFi Stadium is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET Monday.

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