The last time Rams WR Cooper Kupp stepped onto the field in a regular season game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, his campaign came to an abrupt and unlucky end thanks to a torn ACL.
More than nine months later, his return to the Coliseum ended on a much more positive note.
Behind a team-high five receptions on nine targets for 120 yards, Kupp played a pivotal role in the Rams' 27-9 home-opening win over the Saints Sunday afternoon.
“It feels great (to be back)," Kupp said. "Just to be able to play this game again is a blessing. All the glory to God."
Looking for a sign that Kupp is 100 percent? Look no further than the open-field play he made midway through the fourth quarter.
Up 20-9 with just over nine minutes remaining, the Rams faced a pivotal 3rd and 3 as they looked to expand their lead. Kupp beat Saints CB Marshon Lattimore on a perfect slant route, then took it 67 yards for a touchdown. However, the plan was overturned by the officials upon further reviewing, so Kupp was instead credited with a 66-yard reception that set up the Rams at the Saints 1-yard line.
True to the Rams' "We Not Me" mantra, Kupp was quick to credit fellow wide receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks for the catch rather than just the offseason work he put in.
"If you go back and watch the film, I think more than anything you see (WR Robert) Rob Woods and (WR) Brandin Cooks flying down the field as I’m running, they’re getting huge blocks 40, 50 yards down the field," Kupp said. "I think that’s just a testament to the team we have, the camaraderie we have."
Woods was happy to help.
"Me and Brandin flying in, knock two guys out, got back up, keep blocking, got another one," Woods said. "Just racing trying to get in the endzone, but really (it) just describes this team as really selfless. We see it as we all scoring as us running, so we’re blocking we’re all trying to find the inzone."
Kupp's efforts helped Los Angeles outscore New Orleans 21-6 in the second half. His total receiving yards were also second-most in a single regular season game in his career.
Rams head coach Sean McVay said even last week against the Panthers, Kupp made several plays – he just didn't have as many opportunities because of space constraints.
On Sunday, Kupp took advantage of just about every one that came his way, reminding Rams fans of the kind of player he is at full strength.
"It’s good to have him back," McVay said. "He’s been outstanding.”