In the first season of 17 games, a pair of all-time records arising from a 16-game season could fall.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, with 13 catches for 123 yards on Monday night, has put himself in position to challenge the single-season reception and receiving yardage records.
As to the former, Saints receiver Michael Thomas set it in 2019, with 149 catches. Kupp, with 113 receptions in 13 games, is on pace to finish with 148 (technically, 147.7). And with 1,489 receiving yards in 13 games, Kupp is on pace for 1,947 receiving yards — 17 short of the record set by former Calvin Johnson nine years ago.
Kupp’s quarterback now, Matthew Stafford, was Johnson’s quarterback then. And to the extent that the Rams have more than a little sizzle to go with a meal that at times has been more Salisbury than steak, they’re surely aware of Kupp’s pace and willing to try to help him get to one or both records.
Some will say that any records set in a 17-game season should carry an asterisk. However, no one said a word when records based on a 14-game season began to fall after the shift to 16 in 1978.
Regardless, it’s no surprise that Kupp currently is the favorite (+125) to win the offensive player of the year award. And he’s at +10000 to win the MVP.
Could Kupp win the MVP award? The Rams would need to win the NFC West, and Kupp would need to break one or both of those records. Even then, remember that no receiver has ever won the award.
A defensive tackle? Yes, Alan Page in 1971. A linebacker? Yes, Lawrence Taylor in 1986. A kicker? Actually, yes. Mark Moseley, in 1982. But no receiver has ever won it. Then again, Kupp may end up having a season that no other receiver has ever had.