Rams-Cardinals takeaways: Cooper Kupp could miss several weeks with ankle injury

The Rams' Cooper Kupp lies on the field holding his right leg
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp rolls out of bounds holding his right leg after trying to make a catch during Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The struggling Rams offense does not figure to improve anytime soon, not with star wide receiver Cooper Kupp out of the lineup.

Kupp could be sidelined for several weeks because of a right ankle injury suffered during the Rams’ 27-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation and requested anonymity.

The Rams (3-6) play the Saints (3-7) on Sunday in New Orleans. The Rams then play on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 27 before returning to SoFi Stadium for a game Dec. 4 against the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks.

Kupp is the second Rams star on offense to be sidelined because of injuries suffered in the last two games.

Rams' Cooper Kupp jumps to try to catch the ball
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp can’t hold on to the ball under pressure from the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Quarterback Matthew Stafford did not play against the Cardinals because of a concussion suffered during a 16-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 6. His status for the game against the Saints is to be determined.

Coach Sean McVay was not made available to reporters Monday because he was attending a memorial service for his grandfather, John McVay, a former NFL coach and San Francisco 49ers executive who was part of five Super Bowl championships.


Kupp, the reigning NFL offensive player of year, was injured during the fourth quarter of the loss to the Cardinals when he rolled under a defensive back who was leaping for a high incomplete pass near the Rams’ sideline.

Kupp had three catches for minus-one yard, his fewest receptions in a game since the 2020 season. It was the first time he finished an NFL game with negative yardage.

Kupp has 75 catches this season, second in the NFL behind Tyreek Hill’s 81 for the Miami Dolphins. Kupp is fifth in the league with 812 yards receiving. He is tied for fifth with six touchdown catches.

The Rams’ loss to Arizona dropped the Super Bowl champs to last place in the NFC West and coach Sean McVay admittedly does not have any answers.

Nov. 13, 2022

“To see him go down — because just what he means to us and what he means to this organization and the people in this locker room — it will be tough,” wide receiver Van Jefferson said Monday during a videoconference. “If we are without him, we’ve just got to step up for him and make plays.

“Everyone knows how important Cooper Kupp is to just this whole offense. But for us as receivers, we’ve just got to pick up the pace and try to do the best we can.”

Jefferson, a third-year pro, caught a late touchdown pass from John Wolford against Arizona. It was Wolford’s first career touchdown pass and Jefferson’s first touchdown reception since he returned from knee surgery that sidelined him for the first six games.

Now Jefferson, Allen Robinson, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, Tutu Atwell and Lance McCutcheon must help fill the void caused by Kupp’s absence.


What else we learned from a loss that dropped the Rams to 3-6:


Wolford lost the battle of the backups

Rams' John Wolford carries the ball through the Cardinals' defense
Rams backup quarterback John Wolford makes a first-half run against the Cardinals at SoFi Stadium.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In a best-case scenario, Wolford would have repeated his feat from the 2020 season when he started for the first time and led the Rams to a victory over the Cardinals.

But Wolford, a fourth-year pro with only one other NFL start on his resume, was outdueled by Colt McCoy.

Wolford completed 24 of 36 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown but lost a fumble and also threw an interception.

McCoy, a 12th-year pro, played with poise gained, in part, from 33 previous starts. He completed 26 of 37 attempts for 238 yards and a touchdown.


McVay struggled to stay on script

Sean McVay on the sideline.
Rams coach Sean McVay watches from the sideline during the team’s 27-17 loss to Arizona at SoFi Stadium.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It was not exactly a work of art, and it only resulted in a field goal, but the Rams’ first possession featured five ballcarriers, Wolford picking up a first down on a designed run and Bryce Perkins subbing for Wolford for a play.


The Rams ran the ball eight times during a 14-play drive. McVay seemed to be making good on his declaration that there would be changes in the offense, but the Rams proceeded to veer from that scheme. They tried only 12 running plays the rest of the game.


Defense failed to force a turnover — again

James Conner scores a  touchdown for the Cardinals.
Cardinals running back James Conner scores a touchdown against the Rams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Missed opportunities. Advantageous bounces for opponents.

Name the reason. Any reason, however farfetched.

It’s probably an accurate assessment of why the Rams have not intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble since they defeated the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 16. An interception in that game is the only turnover they’ve generated in the last seven games.

And this is a defense that includes three probable future Hall of Fame players in defensive lineman Aaron Donald, linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.


Postseason possibilities are slipping away

John Wolford signals to fellow Rams players.
Rams quarterback John Wolford (13) signals to teammates before a snap against the Cardinals on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Tom Brady might have stuck a dagger in the Rams the week before, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback did the Rams a solid by leading his team to victory over the division-leading Seahawks in Munich, Germany.

The Rams, unlike the 49ers and the Cardinals, did not take advantage of Seattle’s loss .

The Seahawks (6-4) remain in first place, but the 49ers (5-4) inched closer with a victory over the Chargers. The Cardinals (4-6) moved into third place.

The 49ers have swept the Rams, who split with the Cardinals.

Along with the game Dec. 4 at SoFi Stadium, the Rams play the Seahawks in the season finale Jan. 8 at Seattle.