The Los Angeles Rams saw their chances to repeat as Super Bowl champions seriously diminish on Sunday when they lost wide receiver Cooper Kupp to a right ankle injury during a heartbreaking loss against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Rams fell to 3-6 on the season, and currently occupy last place in the NFC West. The Rams extended their losing streak to three games after the Cardinals beat them 27-17 at SoFi Stadium in a divisional tilt where both starting quarterbacks did not play due to injuries.
Matthew Stafford from the Rams failed to clear the concussion protocol on Sunday morning, and he was ruled out in favor of backup quarterback John Wofford. A hamstring injury kept Kyler Murray out of lineup, and the Cardinals started backup Colt McCoy. In a battle of backup quarterbacks, McCoy and the Cardinals prevailed.
Low Flying Panic Attack
The Rams have been plagued by a terrible offense this season. They average 16.4 points per game and ranked #29 out of 32 teams in scoring offense.
Head coach Sean McVay knew it was going to be difficult to win another Super Bowl with a depleted offensive line. The running game has been non-existent, and the Rams average 68.1 yards per game with the worst rushing attack in the NFL.
Tensions boiled over in the locker room when running back Cam Akers demanded a trade last month, but the Rams were unable to move him before the trade deadline. The Rams attempted to add Christian McCaffrey in a trade with the Carolina Panthers, but the San Francisco 49ers out bid them.
It’s also difficult to win if your starting quarterback is playing through an elbow injury. Stafford attempted to play through the pain, but he’s been ineffective with a career-low eight touchdowns in eight games. He suffered a concussion last week in a loss against the Tampa Bay Bucs, and missed Week 10’s game against the Cardinals.
Kupp has been the lone bright spot for the Rams and provided the only offense for a team that struggled to find the end zone.
In 2021, Kupp led the NFL during a record-breaking season with 145 catches for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. He earned MVP honors while leading the Rams to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super bowl LVI.
In 2022, Kupp tallied 75 receptions for 812 yards and six touchdowns. He posted five games with at least 100-plus receiving yards. Heading into Week 10, Kupp caught a touchdown pass in three out of his previous four games.
Kupp Avoid Serious Injury
Prior to his ankle injury, Kupp had one of the worst games of his career with three receptions for negative one yard against the Cardinals.
The injury occurred in the fourth quarter when Kupp failed to haul in an errant pass from Wofford. Marco Wilson from the Cardinals hit Kupp on the play and the two were tangled up.
I was upset with myself a little bit,” said Wofford. “It was kind of a weird play, but I hate to see Coop getting hurt. He works real hard, and it’s sad to see.”
“It didn’t look good, it didn’t sound good,” said McVay.
Kupp limped off to the locker room and did not return to the game.
X-rays after the game did not reveal any fractures, and Kupp faded the worst-case scenario. However, he will undergo further testing and imaging on Monday to gauge the severity of his injury. All signs point toward a high ankle sprain, which could keep him out of the lineup for multiple weeks.
Key part of replay cut off but consistent with high ankle injury with biggest current worry being associated high fibula fracture. Headed for X-ray. Same side as recent injury but worse mechanism. pic.twitter.com/st27IxjJHU
— David J. Chao – ProFootballDoc (@ProFootballDoc) November 13, 2022
Rams Playoff Chances: 7%
The Rams were 3-3 when they headed into the bye week with a chance to retool their slumping offense. However, after three straight losses, the Rams are on the verge of elimination from the playoff hunt.
FiveThirtyEight projects the Rams have a 7% chance to qualify for the playoffs, but they’d have to run the table and win all of their remaining games. That seems like an impossible task after the Kupp injury.
The Rams are a long shot at +15000 odds to win Super Bowl LVII, according to a recent update by DraftKings. You can back the Rams at +5000 odds to win the NFC Championship in consecutive seasons.
The Rams play five away games over the final eight weeks of the season. They have road games against New Orleans Saints (Week 11), Kansas City Chiefs (Week 12), Green Bay Packers (Week 15), L.A. Chargers (Week 17), and Seattle Seahawks (Week 18). Although the meeting against the Chargers is technically a road game, the Rams get to play on their home turf at SoFi Stadium.
The Rams play only three more home games in December, including an NFC West matchup against the first-place Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. The Rams also play the worst-two teams in the AFC West with non-conference games against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14, and the Denver Broncos in Week 16.
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