Injured Cooper Kupp will be missing Rams’ practice and Sean McVay takes blame

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp walks off the field with medical staff after injuring his ankle late in the game against the 49ers.
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp walks off the field with medical staff after injuring his ankle late in the game against San Francisco.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Frustrated coaches with 3-4 records are not typically breathing sighs of relief the day after another resounding defeat.

But that was Sean McVay on Monday.

The ankle injury star receiver Cooper Kupp suffered in the final minutes of the Rams’ 31-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers is not expected to sideline him for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McVay said during a videoconference with reporters.

“Fortunately, there wasn’t anything structurally wrong,” McVay said, “and so that’s very positive news for us.”


Especially for McVay, who unnecessarily put one of his most important players in harm’s way.

The Rams trailed by 17 points with less than 90 seconds left when McVay called for a third-down pass to Kupp, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year. Kupp was injured during the play.

The Rams talked about “running it back” to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but with a terrible running attack through seven games, they need to find a back now!

Oct. 30, 2022

“I’m kicking myself for not running the football again,” McVay said after the game.

Kupp’s six-yard reception was the last of his eight catches. He finished with 79 yards receiving and a touchdown.

“I know he feels bad about that,” Kupp said when told that McVay second-guessed the late play call. “But … you’re playing a football game. You’re calling plays. It’s third down, let’s get a first down.

“So I’m obviously not holding anything against him in that regard. It’s a violent random game and you play as hard as you possibly can until the fourth quarter hits zero.”

No one questions Kupp’s competitiveness, but that was a foolish call by his coach.

The Rams suffered their eighth consecutive regular-season loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Oct. 30, 2022

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I would do that one differently if I had a chance to do it again and not even leave him possibly exposed to that hit,” McVay said Monday.


Kupp probably will be held out of practice Wednesday, and then will be limited in the days leading up to the game, McVay said.

What else we learned from the Rams’ defeat:

Rams have no rushing attack

Wait, we already knew this.

The absence against the 49ers, however, was even more stark.

With Cam Akers banished from the stadium as the Rams attempt to trade him by Tuesday‘s 1 p.m. PT deadline, McVay said Monday that he started practice squad call-up Ronnie Rivers because Darrell Henderson experienced breathing problems before the game. Henderson missed a day of practice because of illness.

The Rams know they need to fix their running game, but knowing and fixing are different as the 49ers continue their dominance of their NFC West rival.

Oct. 30, 2022

McVay all but abandoned jet sweeps for Kupp and receivers Brandon Powell and Ben Skowronek.

The Rams rushed for 56 yards.

Whatever happened to McVay and his staff’s oft-repeated philosophy to make opponents defend “every blade of grass?”

McCaffrey worth every draft pick it cost 49ers

The 49ers outbid the Rams for Christian McCaffrey in a trade with the Carolina Panthers.

Christian McCaffrey has been with the 49ers a little over a week but has learned fast, throwing, running and catching for touchdowns in blowout of Rams.

Oct. 30, 2022

Maybe — no, make that absolutely — the Rams should have upped the ante to ensure they landed one of the NFL’s most versatile players.


How versatile?

McCaffrey rushed for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and passed for a touchdown.

Players lost cool and it cost Rams

Linebacker Ernest Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness after a catch by McCaffrey on the final play of the third quarter. A seven-yard pass play became a 22-yard gain that sparked the 49ers during a drive that ended with a touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

During the ensuing series, Rams receiver Allen Robinson caught a six-yard pass for a first down but was flagged for taunting, resulting in a nine-yard loss. The series ended with a punt, and the 49ers drove for their final touchdown.

San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey (23) breaks away from the Rams defense in the fourth quarter.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

“That can’t happen,” McVay said Monday when asked about players losing their tempers. “But clearly, we got outplayed in the second half. This is an emotional game, tempers can run hot in those types of situations.”

Receiver Jefferson was a decoy

After recovering from knee surgery performed during training camp, Van Jefferson played for the first time this season.

He was in the starting lineup and played 31 of 58 snaps.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford targeted Jefferson zero times.

“I’m just happy to be back,” Jefferson said.

Floyd can still sack quarterbacks

Leonard Floyd went six games without a sack, an embarrassing performance by an edge rusher who averaged 10 sacks in each of the last two seasons.


Last week, defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said he expected Floyd to get opportunities and take advantage of them sooner rather than later.

On Sunday, Floyd sacked 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo twice during one first-half series.

Floyd said it felt good to finally hit a quarterback.

“I wish we would have won though,” he said. “It would have felt better.”