Cooper Kupp and Rams receivers make few rookie mistakes in season-opening win over Colts

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp caught his first touchdown pass and followed it with a rookie mistake: He tossed the ball to the referee.

After Sunday’s season-opening 46-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at the Coliseum, Kupp hoped the ball would be identified and returned to him.

“That was probably not a good idea,” Kupp said, chuckling.

It wasn’t a flawless performance for the third-round pick from Eastern Washington, but Kupp’s production — four catches for 76 yards, including the 18-yard score — made for an impressive debut.

“It was a lot of fun,” Kupp said after the game. “Any time your team can put together a win like this collectively — offense, defense, special teams — everyone just played lights out.”

Said Rams coach Sean McVay: “Kupp, he’s a great player; made some big-time catches for us.”

Kupp dropped two passes — one on a wide-open route over the middle — and he was quick to mention the miscues after the game. The mistakes did not spoil his first pro game, though.

“You’ve got to learn from it and move on,” he said.

Rookie tight end Gerald Everett, a second-round pick from South Alabama, caught a 39-yard pass down the sideline in the second quarter. The play set up a Todd Gurley touchdown run that put the Rams ahead 17-3.

“That was a big-time turning point,” McVay said.

Said Everett: “We needed definitely a spark.”

Kupp and Everett were among eight Rams who caught passes. Receiver Sammy Watkins caught five for 58 yards, Gurley five for 56 and Robert Woods three for 53.

Fitting in

Robert Quinn has made the transition from defensive end to edge-rushing linebacker in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. And he has done it without any preseason snaps.

The Rams held Quinn and linebacker Mark Barron out of preseason games so that they would be physically sound for the opener. The strategy appears to have paid off. Both of Quinn’s tackles Sunday were for losses, including a seven-yard sack. Barron made one tackle.

“A little game-rusty not having played a game,” Quinn said, “but after few snaps you get back into game mode and stop thinking as much. So that’s kind of what happened and just went on to be the regular me.”

Shrinking secondary

Kayvon Webster did not play during the preseason so that he could be physically sound for the opener.

Webster started Sunday’s game but suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter as he attempted to break up a pass. He left the field and did not return, but afterward tweeted “Feeling great!”.

Before Webster’s injury, backup Dominique Hatfield, who played on special teams, was evaluated for a concussion.

The injuries deplete a secondary that is already somewhat thin. Troy Hill, who started four games last season, is serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Welcome back

Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald ended his holdout and reported to the Rams on Saturday, but did not attend the game. McVay said Donald told him he did not want to be a distraction and that he would reconvene with the team on Monday.

“So that’s why you appreciate Aaron, because he’s all about the right things,” McVay said.

Donald, a Pro Bowl selection in each of his three seasons, did not participate in offseason workouts and did not take part in team drills during a June minicamp.

The Rams are not expected to rush him onto the field.

Defensive tackle Michael Brockers said he did not get a chance to see Donald on Saturday, “but just to know he’s back and he’s back in town, hopefully … we can have him back and ready for next week.”

Said Quinn: “Everyone knows the type of player Aaron is, and you know to eventually get him back and let his presence be felt, I think it’s just only going to help us. But as of now, the guys that are here, we want to continue to work, get better day and hopefully continue to dominate one week at a time like we did” against the Colts.

Etc.

Greg Zuerlein kicked field goals from 50, 35 and 44 yards. … Receiver Tavon Austin, who was sidelined during offseason workouts and the preseason because of injuries, caught one pass for seven yards, gained 11 yards in two carries, returned three punts for 15 yards and one kickoff for 13 yards. He also fumbled a punt. Austin said the ball hit the cables that carry the broadcast sky camera.

lindsey.thiry@latimes.com

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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