Cooper Kupp, NFL MVP? Rams HC Sean McVay: 'He's a legitimate candidate for a lot of awards'

Cooper Kupp is well on his way to winning the wide receiver triple crown, leading the NFL in catches, yards and touchdown receptions.

The Los Angeles Rams star tortured the Seattle defense Tuesday night, gobbling up nine catches on 13 targets for 136 yards and the only two Rams TDs of the game in a 20-10 victory over the Seahawks. No other receiver had more than 42 receiving yards and all others combined for 108 yards.

In the process of destroying Seattle, Kupp set the Rams' single-season record with 122 catches in just 14 games, passing Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce (119). Doing it in two fewer games is wild.

"I had no idea," Kupp said when asked about setting the record. "Obviously, that's a great honor considering the receivers that have come through this organization."

Tuesday night, Kupp also broke a tie with Michael Irvin and teammate Odell Beckham for the longest streak of games with 90-plus receiving yards since 1950. Kupp has now breached the mark in 10 straight games.

Kupp generated his fourth game this season with 100-plus receiving yards and two receiving TDs. Only Randy Moss (2007), Terrell Owens (2005) and Lance Alworth (1966) had more in a season.

"I think he has an idea of how well he is playing, but he is truly one of the most humble, special players I have ever been around," coach Sean McVay said of Kupp. "He doesn't need all the accolades. I think it's great he gets his first Pro Bowl recognition. I don't know how he's not going to be a first-team All-Pro prayer. I think he's a legitimate candidate for a lot of awards, but he is about our team. He's interested in leading the right way, making the plays that are instrumental and vital to the outcomes of our team's success and he does a lot of stuff without the football as well. But he's so special. You and I both know that. Pretty cool."

One award Kupp probably won't win is Most Valuable Player. No WR in NFL history has won the MVP award. Only 19 non-QBs have ever been so honored, per Pro Football Reference, most of them running backs. Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page on defense won the award and kicker Mark Moseley was honored in the strike-shortened 1982.

That's a stinger: A kicker won an NFL MVP, but never a WR.

It would take a ton for any wideout to make the leap, given that it's essentially become a QB award, and it takes a signal-caller to throw the ball to said receiver.

But maybe, just maybe, in a year in which no quarterback has consistently played otherworldly, Kupp has a shot.

He leads all receivers with 122 catches (next closest Tyreek Hill at 102), 1,625 yards (next closest Justin Jefferson at 1,335), and 14 TDs (next closest Mike Evans at 11).

To have any consideration for the MVP, Kupp would most assuredly need to break Calvin Johnson's single-season receiving record, which sits at 1,964 yards. Kupp needs 339 more yards over the final three weeks. If he continues on his 116.1 yards per-game average, he will best Johnson's record with nine yards to spare in Week 18. Kupp would need to average 169.5 yards over the next two weeks to match Johnson in 16 games.

"I mean, he's a great player," quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Kupp. "He's having a fantastic season. He's such a huge part of what we do as a team. You know, not only on offense, he's back there catching a bunch of punts for us on special teams. Does a great job leading that group. I'm just happy that I get the chance to play with a guy like that. I know a lot of guys on our team feel the same way. We all take a hand in his success and that's really fun. We're just proud of him. Just proud of him watching him do his thing."

It's no surprise that Stafford quarterbacked Johnson's record-setting season and now has Kupp in a position with a chance to best his former teammate. The big-armed QB always believes he can fit the ball into tight windows to WRs he trusts. The mind-meld between Stafford and Kupp has been evident since Day 1.

Kupp's importance to the Rams offense can't be overstated. Without the receiver making double coverages moot, L.A. wouldn't be close to the division lead.

It might not be enough to get receivers their first-ever MVP, but it's been enough to carry Sean McVay's offense.

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