Rams receiver Cooper Kupp grabs winning touchdown to defeat Titans
Cooper Kupp overcame a critical miscue Sunday to catch a game-winning touchdown pass in the Rams’ 27-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
The Rams rookie reached over his shoulder in the fourth quarter to catch the 14-yard pass from quarterback Jared Goff in the back corner of the end zone. Kupp dived as caught the ball and his momentum carried him out of bounds.
Kupp said after the game that he was uncertain if he had scored.
“I was hoping that I got my knee down,” Kupp said. “I think I missed that second foot by probably an inch or two but luckily I got the knee down in time.”
Coach Sean McVay said he was not surprised by Kupp’s play.
“That’s what he’s demonstrated,” McVay said, adding, “You really see the maturity for a rookie. That’s pretty rare.”
Kupp also made a highlight-reel catch in the first quarter, when he came down with a 34-yard reception and managed to keep his second foot in bounds. The play set up an eventual touchdown run by Todd Gurley.
With the game tied in the third quarter, Kupp dropped a mid-range pass over the middle on third down. Kupp expressed disappointment for failing to convert a routine play, and acknowledged that similar mistakes had plagued an otherwise outstanding season.
“That’s been kind of how the season has gone,” Kupp said. “You’ve got to flush it you’ve got to move on and I thought like that game was almost like a reflection on how the year has gone for me.”
In the fourth quarter Kupp drew a pass interference on a deep pass that moved the ball to the Titans’ 23-yard line, helping to set up his game-winning score.
Fisher attends game
Former Rams and Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher was in attendance for Sunday’s game between the last two teams he coached, and said that he is looking to coach again in the NFL.
“I have every intention of getting back to coaching,” Fisher, 59, said, adding, “I feel young and charged up and so I want to give it another shot.”
Fisher was fired by the Rams with three games left in the 2016 season. He has tracked the Rams, and their surge to an 11-4 record and the top of the NFC West, under first-year coach McVay.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” Fisher said. “I’m really excited for all the players I knew. It was built right and they were missing a few pieces, and they did a great job.
“Sean is an outstanding coach. We needed some offensive energy, and that’s what we didn’t have. But we also needed over the last couple years explosive receivers and help for the offensive line. So I’m really happy for them.”
Fisher was in the fifth and final year of a contract that paid him about $7 million a year when he was fired. He received a two-year contract extension before or early in 2016 season.
Fisher, who went 31-42-1 with the Rams, said he had “no hard feelings whatsoever” toward the Rams.
“I have respect for [owner] Stan [Kroenke] and I can look at myself in the mirror knowing I did the best I could. I wasn’t part of the plan so that’s fine.”
Fisher has homes in Nashville, Montana and Southern California.
He said he remains in contact with Rams players and former players such as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum.
“When it’s all said and done, that’s the most important thing to coaches is the relationship with your players,” he said.
Cory Littleton steps up
Linebacker Cory Littleton started in place of injured Mark Barron, who sat out because of what McVay described as an Achilles issue.
And Littleton made the most of his opportunity, intercepting a pass and recording a sack, both career firsts.
“[Barron] told me before the game that he felt comfortable with me filling in for him,” Littleton said. “He knows I was ready and him basically just saying that really proved that to me.”
Marcus Mariota threw a pass intended for Rishard Matthews, but Littleton read the play and had plenty of time to make the catch. He returned it two yards to the Rams’ 47-yard line and Todd Gurley scored a few players later to give the Rams a 6-0 lead.
“The quarterback’s eyes led me and I believed,” Littleton said laughing. “It was the best feeling ever.”
Later in the first quarter, Littleton sacked Mariota for a six-yard loss at the Rams’ five-yard line, forcing he Titans to kick a field goal.
“They gave me a look that was really similar to what I’d seen earlier in the game and it was open, clearly it was open,” Littleton said, “and I took full advantage.”
Littleton has been a key contributor on special teams this season.
He blocked a punt that Malcolm Brown returned for a touchdown in a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and he also blocked a punt in a win over the New York Giants.
Left guard Rodger Saffold suffered a rib injury in the fourth quarter when Goff threw a screen pass to Gurley.
Saffold walked off the field with the training staff.
“It was new pain I never had before,” Saffold said. “Doing [rehabilitation] work throughout the week, I think I’ll be fine.”
Austin Blythe, who has filled in at center and guard, took over at the position.
Backup safety Marqui Christian was inserted in the Rams’ goal-line defense. Christian stopped running back Derrick Henry at the one-yard line on second down. Christian, who also plays special teams, later suffered a shoulder injury and was sidelined. … Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips kept alive his streak of taking teams that hire him to the playoffs his first year on the job. The streak dates to 1989 and encompasses coaching jobs with Denver, Buffalo, Atlanta, the Chargers, Dallas, Houston and Denver again.
Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein
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