Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp made only one rookie mistake in his NFL debut on Sunday afternoon — tossing the football to an official after scoring his first NFL touchdown, instead of holding onto it for his own collection.
“I threw it to the ref and then someone said something after when I got to the sidelines,” Kupp said with a smile. “I thought, ‘You know that probably would’ve been a good idea to do that.’ But, we’ll see, maybe someone can come up with it somewhere.”
The touchdown, a perfect 18-yard strike from quarterback Jared Goff, marked Kupp’s “Welcome to the NFL” moment, but was hardly the young receiver’s only contribution in the Rams’ 46-9 rout over the Colts.
Kupp led the offense in receiving, recording four catches for 76 yards. The receiver also lined up all over the field, taking 26 snaps on the inside at the slot position and 16 on the outside according to Pro Football Focus. Although his performance was not perfect — as Kupp said himself — it was still an impressive debut for the FCS record setter.
“It was a lot of fun. Anytime you can put together a W like this collectively — offense, defense, special teams — everyone just played lights out,” he said. “Offensively, there was a lot of stuff we did well, but there’s a lot of stuff we have to fix. I didn’t catch that ball when we were wide open — I’ve got to make those plays. So we’re going to go back and watch the film and learn from it and see what we can improve on.”
During the game, Kupp dropped a pair of passes, including an open route over the middle in the third quarter. As head coach Sean McVay said post game, the rookie receiver was quick to bounce back after the play, responding “excellent on the third down-and-five, where he [caught] the wheel route down the sidelines,” putting the Rams back within scoring territory.
“I think you look at Cooper Kupp, he’s a great player, made some big-time catches for us, the one handed catch on the crossing route,” McVay continued. “[But] the type of player he is, all he’s going to remember is the one in breaking route that he could have made.”
The Rams’ offense distributed the ball well against the Colts, with Goff connecting with seven different receivers. Sammy Watkins caught five passes for 58 yards, Todd Gurley five for 56, Robert Woods three for 53, and Gerald Everett one catch for 39 yards.
But even as Goff continues to spread the ball well in game action, it’s easy to see that Kupp is quickly becoming one of his favorite targets.
“Cooper did a good job today and executed everything he needed to do and again, he’s another guy — just consistent,” Goff said. “Every day in practice you get from him, I know no one was more upset than he was on that ball over the middle. But I told him, I said, ‘We’re going to keep coming to you.’ I said, ‘You dropped one then you made a good play, you made up for it. We’re all good on that now’ — joking with him, but, no, he did a great job.”
All kidding aside, Kupp said his NFL debut was an experience he’ll never forget.
“It was a blast. We had so much fun out there,” Kupp said. “I’m one of those guys, I probably lean more towards being super serious when it comes to the game, but I was having a blast out there.”
“Just the team, the guys, the coaching staff, our sidelines — We played for each other and when you’re playing for something bigger than yourself it makes it easy to go out there and enjoy. When you’re out there with guys that are playing for you just as you’re playing for them.”