Fall 2022

Faith-fueled Cooper Kupp, 1st 2,000-yard receiver, delivers again as Rams reach Super Bowl LVI

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp has come through time and time again for the Los Angeles Rams this season, and it was no different with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line Sunday.

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Kupp hauled in 11 passes for 142 yards in L.A.’s 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game, and scored his team’s only two touchdowns. In doing so, he became the first player in NFL history to have 13 games with at least 100 receiving yards in a single season.

The 28-year-old won the receiving triple crown by leading the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) during the regular season. He has added 25 catches for 368 yards and four touchdowns in L.A.’s three playoff games. That makes him the first player in NFL history to surpass 2,000 receiving yards, and the first to reach 170 receptions (regular season and postseason), and he still has one game left to play.

On Sunday, he capped off an 18-play, 97-yard drive with his first touchdown from 16 yards out to open the scoring midway through the second quarter.

Trailing 17-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, quarterback Matthew Stafford found Kupp for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 with 13:30 remaining. The Rams forced a punt on the 49ers’ next possession and tied the game with a field goal.

Another stop by the L.A. defense gave the Rams offense the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Stafford connected with Kupp on a 25-yard pass that put them on the 49ers’ 12-yard line.

Another field goal and an interception by Travin Howard clinched a second trip to the Super Bowl in four years for the Rams, while snapping a six-game losing streak to their division rival. After the game, Kupp took a knee and bowed his head on the field, and later took to Twitter to thank the fans and celebrate the victory.

Throughout his historic campaign, Kupp has given glory to God in press conferences and through his apparel line. He wore a hat from his line after beating the defending Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round that said, “Do it to get a crown that will last forever.” The phrase is a reference to 1 Corinthians 9:25: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Kupp also mentioned a Bible verse when asked if he’s underappreciated by the rest of the league following a strong first two games of the season, citing Proverbs 16:9.

“The verse that was on my mind was, ‘The heart of man chooses his path but the Lord establishes his steps,’” he 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.”

Kupp now gets to take in the full Super Bowl experience, something he was not able to do when the Rams made it in 2019. A torn ACL in Week 10 meant he had to watch his team’s 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots from the sidelines. The challenging rehab process forced him to lean into his relationship with God and gave him a greater appreciation for the support system around him.

“I needed God. I needed to trust in what my faith was,” Kupp said about that season in a 2019 interview with Christian Broadcasting Network. “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.”

Kupp and his teammates won’t have to travel at all for their meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, as it will be played at their home field — SoFi Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 13.

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