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Rams Sweep ESPN's NFC West Awards

Posted Jan 16, 2018

Not only did the Rams clinch the 2017 NFC West division title, but they also took home a clean sweep of ESPN.com's NFC West Awards.

Another day, another accolade for the 2017 Rams. 

The club earned a place in NFL history by recording one of the best year-to-year turnarounds in the Super Bowl Era — particularly on offense. And on Tuesday, the Rams were once again rewarded for their efforts — sweeping ESPN.com’s NFC West awards.

The postseason awards list was selected by NFL Nation NFC West reporters Alden Gonzalez (Rams), Brady Henderson (Seahawks), Nick Wagoner (49ers) and Josh Weinfuss (Cardinals).

First-year head coach Sean McVay was named Coach of the Year, while running back Todd Gurley and defensive tackle Aaron Donald took home Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards, respectively. Rounding out the list was wide receiver Cooper Kupp who was named the NFC West Rookie of the Year.

McVay was a unanimous choice for the Coach of the Year honor for his remarkable leadership.

“Considering that McVay is the favorite to be the NFL Coach of the Year, it was a no-brainer that he would earn that honor for the NFC West division,” Wagoner wrote of the group’s decision.

In his first year with the Rams, the 31-year-old McVay led the team to its first division title since 2003 and first playoff appearance since 2004. By coaching the Rams to a league-best 29.9 points per game, McVay also became the youngest head coach since 1937 to win 10 games in his first season.

Likely an AP MVP candidate, Gurley more than doubled his production from a season ago to lead the NFL in total touchdowns (19), rushing touchdowns (13), and yards from scrimmage (2,093).

Henderson detailed Gurley’s four-touchdown performance against Seattle as the running back’s standout moment of the season — one in which he “thrust himself into the MVP conversation” and proved himself the centerpiece of McVay’s offense.

Donald has been a defensive force for the franchise in each of his first three years and 2017 proved no different. The Pittsburgh product led the league in pressures (91) and led all defensive tackles in sacks. Although Donald faced double- and triple-teams, the defensive tackle still managed to record a career-high tying 11 sacks in 14 games and was an offensive game wrecker throughout the season.  

Kupp had one of the largest impacts on the team’s offensive production this year. The former Eastern Washington standout led the Rams in receiving with 869 yards and five touchdowns. He also led the team with 95 targets and converted a team-high 42 first downs.

“Hollywood wasn't too big for Kupp,” Weinfuss wrote. “The small-school wide receiver shined as bright as any movie premiere as a rookie for the Rams, who selected Kupp in the third round out of Eastern Washington.”

But most impressive to the group of writers was Kupp’s consistency throughout the season. Not only did he record at least two catches per contest, but his biggest games came down the stretch — when the wideout notched two games with at least 100 yards receiving against the Saints and Eagles.