Cooper Kupp made several clutch plays for the Los Angels Rams in their run to win Super Bowl LVI.
The Rams receiver caught several timely catches in regular-season wins over the Seahawks, Cardinals, Colts, and more. In the playoffs, Kupp made the big reception to set Matt Gay up for the game-winning field goal against the Buccaneers. He also scored both of the Rams’ touchdowns in their win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Kupp’s number was called again in Super Bowl LVI against the Bengals, especially on the Rams’ final drive. On one of those plays though, Kupp wasn’t asked to catch the ball. He was asked to run the ball, needing one yard on fourth down from their own territory with the season on the line.
Rams Didn’t Have Success With Kupp Rushing the Ball in Practice Before Super Bowl Play
When Rams coach Sean McVay dialed up a jet sweep for Kupp with the Super Bowl hanging in the balance, there had to be a false sense of confidence to pull the play off. In an interview with USA Today’s Andy Nesbitt, Kupp shared that the Rams actually had trouble running the play during practice ahead of the Super Bowl and that he and Matthew Stafford had to assure McVay that they could successfully run the play.
“It was definitely something that, I think in that moment, if you don’t get that, you turn the ball back over on the [30-yard] line, that’s going to be a tough situation for us as a team to overcome,” Kupp said. “It’s a play that caused a lot of consternation, as Sean would say, because there was a lot of moving parts going on. It’s figuring out all the snap counts, you’re on the silent (snap count), the stadium is loud, trying to figure out how you’re going to time this whole thing up. We fumbled it like once or twice during the week where we just weren’t getting the snap-to-hand off situation. We were having some issues with it. Going into it, Matthew and I talked, we came to Sean at the end of the week, and we’re like, ‘Hey, I know you want to call this play. Matthew and I have it figured out. We can get it done.’ And then we didn’t actually even run it again until that moment there where we ran it on that fourth down.”
On 4th-and-1 from their own 30-yard, trailing the Bengals 20-16 with five minutes left, both Kupp and Stafford knew the severity of the play. They remained cool, calm, and collected though in the high-stakes situation.
“It was like, Matthew and I looked at each other and [told each other] ‘Remember what we said, remember our cues of what we said was going to make this work,’” Kupp said.
Kupp cleanly grabbed Stafford’s handoff, making a cut at the right moment, and successfully got the first down as he gained seven yards on the play.
“We were able to execute it,” Kupp said.
That Wasn’t the Only Big Play Kupp Made in the Rams’ Super Bowl-Winning Drive
While the Rams got the first down, they still needed to drive 63 more yards to score a touchdown to take the lead.
Kupp made another key reception two plays later, gaining eight yards to set the Rams up for an easier third-down conversion. Three plays after that, Kupp was on the receiving end of one of the most impressive throws of Stafford’s career. The Rams quarterback used his eyes to misdirect the Bengals’ coverage, completing a pass to Kupp for a 22-yard gain that put Los Angeles at Cincinnati’s 24-yard line.
In May, Kupp told Colin Cowherd on his podcast, “The Colin Cowherd Podcast,” that Stafford actually ran a similar play with him on the first day of OTAs that season, which gave Kupp a glimpse into Stafford’s unique skill.
“You know, it’s funny that you bring this up but I hadn’t thought about this – the play that happened during OTAs, probably a year ago to the day almost, that the light went on and was like ‘Oh, this is what makes this guy great’ is the exact same play that we ran that he no-look [passed] in the Super Bowl,” Kupp told Cowherd. “That was the first time that I went back and felt what he had done and thought ‘He might have just no-looked that one.’ I went back and watched on film – and seeing him manipulate people underneath and do what he did with his eyes and being able to throw the ball that he did, it was literally on the exact same play that he no-looked in the Super Bowl when he had that great one on that last drive. It was literally that exact same play. That was the moment where I was like ‘This guy has something different.’”
Kupp made another reception on the next play, gaining eight yards to move the Rams into the red zone.
The Rams moved the ball right up to the goal line, failing to score on multiple chances. But just like they did on the last play in which they needed just one yard, McVay dialed up a play for Kupp. Stafford found Kupp in the endzone for a one-yard touchdown reception to put the Rams up, 23-20, with 1:25 left, completing the 18-play, 79-yard drive that was the difference in Super Bowl LVI.
Kupp’s heroics on that drive was likely a key reason for why he won Super Bowl MVP. He finished with eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns. He also had seven clutch rushing yards.