Rams WR Cooper Kupp named 2021 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year

No wide receiver has ever won NFL MVP, but Cooper Kupp couldn't have had a more valuable season at his position.

The proof is in the productivity -- from both him and the Los Angeles Rams.

After claiming the first receiving triple crown in more than a decade, and just the fifth in history, Kupp was announced as the 2021 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year on Thursday during NFL Honors. He's only the third wideout to earn the award, joining two-time winner Jerry Rice and Michael Thomas.

Kupp tallied 35 of a possible 50 votes, with Colts running back Jonathan Taylor finishing runner-up with 10 votes. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (three) and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (two) received votes, as well.

Kupp, of course, isn't done. He'll have a chance to add to his hardware in Super Bowl LVI versus the Bengals on Sunday. He's already responsible for the most prolific receiving season ever.

That's right. Kupp's 145 catches and 1,947 receiving yards were the second-highest totals in league history. No one has come close to approaching those marks in the same season, much less with 16 TDs. He's tallied an unprecedented 170 catches and 2,333 receiving yards over the 20 games he's played, including playoffs. His 20 touchdown catches overall are tied for fourth-most all time.

It's all the product of Kupp seemingly reaching a physical and mental peak in Year 5. He possessed no discernible weaknesses prior, yet he manifested precise route running and post-catch elusiveness while lining up everywhere to make arguably the biggest leap of any player in the game in 2021. The first-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler recorded 90-plus receiving yards in 13 straight games (most in Super Bowl era) and 16 overall (most in NFL history). His 11 games with 100-plus yards tied the NFL record.

The Rams, now 15-5, needed every bit of it to win the grueling NFC West and make it back to the Super Bowl.

Kupp has led the team in receptions 19 times and in receiving yards 18 times, constantly finding soft spots in zone defenses while proving to be virtually unguardable versus man coverage. After Robert Woods was lost in early November to a season-ending injury, Matthew Stafford kept finding Kupp. The speedy wideout's per-game averages only increased down the stretch despite increased attention. As the stakes rose, so did his game. Per Next Gen Stats, he's picked up a first down on an NFL-high 17.8% of his third-down routes run this season. In the playoffs, he made the two biggest catches in a three-point win over the Buccaneers, and he snagged both of Stafford's touchdown throws in a three-point, NFC title game win over the 49ers.

Injuries prevented Kupp from playing in L.A.'s previous two playoff finales, both of which were defeats. This super season of his fittingly ends Sunday -- and it will be remembered forever.

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