Rookie receiver Cooper Kupp has made numerous highlight-reel plays for the Rams.
He also has played a role in some of the season’s most disappointing moments.
On Sunday, in the Rams’ 24-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, Kupp fumbled on the one-yard line in the second quarter with the score tied 7-7.
Later, he watched a pass slip through his fingers when the team desperately needed to score.
“It was tough,” Kupp said. “Obviously those are plays I want back, plays that I wish I would have made.”
Kupp has been one of the most consistent contributors for a Rams team that entered Sunday with the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 32.9 points per game. He has 38 receptions for 481 yards and three touchdowns, but the third-round pick from Eastern Washington also has some major miscues.
In the final moments of a Week 5 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Kupp failed to haul in a tough-but-catchable pass from Jared Goff in the end zone that might have given the Rams a victory.
On Sunday, he caught six passes for 64 yards, but his fumble was the Rams’ first turnover since the Arizona Cardinals intercepted a Goff pass last month.
“I think I’m a better player than what I showed out there,” Kupp said.
Coach Sean McVay said he spoke with Kupp to ensure that his confidence was not shaken.
“You let him know that these things do occur in the NFL,” McVay said, adding, “A couple plays don't dictate and determine what kind of player you are. It’s about how you respond.”
Goff said that Kupp, his roommate for part of the offseason, can be hard on himself, but that he also contributes under-the-radar plays.
After the loss to the Seahawks, Goff took a seat next to a distraught Kupp in the locker room. On Sunday, Kupp did not appear in need of consolation.
“He makes smart plays and does more little things that go unnoticed and he can’t be down on himself,” Goff said. “It’s a long season, and makes so many plays that I am not worried about him.”
Against the Vikings, the Rams' offense stalled after scoring on the first series to take a 7-0 lead.
The score was tied with 7:49 left in the half when Goff finally got the offense moving.
On third down at Minnesota’s 11-yard line, Goff threw a 10-yard laser through traffic to Kupp. He made the catch, but safety Anthony Harris arrived, knocked the ball to the turf and recovered it.
“Just caught the ball right over the middle there,” Kupp said. “I thought I’d turn in up and poke my head in.
“He just made a great play on it. Raked over the ball and it came out and he was able to recover it. I just got to do a better job securing the ball.”
It was a deflating moment for the Rams, who were unable to muster much momentum against one of the league’s best defenses.
“The turnover really hurt us where we kind of strung together a drive,” McVay said. “It’s a third down and we’re going to be inside the two-yard line if that’s not a touchdown right there.”
The Rams trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter when Kupp made his second error.
On third and 10, he could not come up with a catchable deep pass.
A completion would have put the Rams in field-goal territory. Instead, they punted and the Vikings scored on the ensuing drive to put the game out of reach.
Kupp said that he would not allow the loss, or his mistakes, to linger as the Rams prepare to host to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
“We’ve got to flush it and move on and be ready to move forward,” Kupp said. “There’s a lot of football left.”