Rams still 'have a lot of confidence' in WR Cooper Kupp

MINNEAPOLIS -- Cooper Kupp has been more than a team can ever hope for out of a rookie third-round draft pick, but a postgame mob of media members has swelled around him only to ask about plays that might have directly led to Los Angeles Rams losses. The first occurrence came in Week 5, in a home game against the Seattle Seahawks, when a diving attempt at a winning touchdown bounced off his hands. The second came in Week 11, while on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, when his fumble and his drop loomed large.

"It's tough," Kupp said after Sunday's 24-7 loss from U.S. Bank Stadium. "Obviously, there are plays that I want back and plays that I wish I should've made. I think we're a better team than what we were out there; I think I'm a better player than what I showed out there. We have to go and learn from it and not let things linger."

The Rams hope that is the case with Kupp, who immediately established himself as their go-to slot receiver. Kupp, 24, ranks second among rookies in receiving yards (481) and fourth in catches (38). He has become an important security blanket for Jared Goff, with 16 third-down receptions in his first 10 games since coming out of Eastern Washington University.

He's a precise route runner with a knack for getting open, one who acts as something of a second coach on the field.

"He's hard on himself, but he's a great player," Goff said of Kupp. "He makes smart plays and does more little things that go unnoticed, and he can't be down on himself. It's a long season, and he makes so many plays that I'm not worried about him."

But it was Kupp's mistakes that resonated on Sunday; a day when the Rams' resurgent offense generally had a hard time moving the ball.

At the four-minute mark of the second quarter, Kupp caught a short pass across the middle but had the ball ripped away by Vikings safety Anthony Harris at the 1-yard line. On third-and-10 at the Vikings' 49 early in the third quarter, Goff made an accurate, deep throw across the middle to Kupp, but the ball went through his hands, forcing a punt. On the next possession, Adam Thielen got free for a 65-yard Vikings touchdown that resulted in the deciding score.

Kupp has three dropped passes this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, four shy of the NFL lead held by Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper. Kupp has hauled in 62.3 percent of his targets, ranked 41st among qualified receivers.

Rams head coach Sean McVay made it a point to speak with Kupp after Sunday's game, as did several teammates.

"You let him know that these things do occur in the NFL and in football," McVay said. "I think he knows that. He's a mentally tough guy, and he's responded to adversity throughout his career. We have a lot of confidence in him. Certainly, a couple plays don't dictate and determine what kind of player you are. It's how you respond. We are supporting him and trust that he will respond in the right way."