Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at Sophie Stadium will feature two All-Pro wide receivers who challenge tacklers as well as logic.
The Rams Cooper Kupp is unique. The San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel is unique. Still, the way it stands up to teammates and coaches, they are the same.
When one talks about the other, you need to double-check to be sure who is discussing what.
Kupp said of Samuel (though it may be the opposite), Kupp said of Samuel, “You have a lot of respect for someone who is willing to go out there and do whatever it takes to do it.” calls for him to be ready.”
For Kupp, “whatever they ask” is not only the NFL’s leading regular-season receiver in catches (145), yards (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16), but also an enthusiastic blocker in ground games and a quick-thinker. He is an infallible fielder of the punt in non-runback positions.
For Samuel, it ranks first among the league’s receivers in yards per catch (18.2) and fifth yards (1,405), as well as all receivers in rushing yards (375), on top of performing spot duty as a kickoff returner. is leading.
This put Kupp and Samuel ranked No. 1 and 2 among all NFC players in all-purpose yards (1,993 and 1,845, respectively).
On Wednesday, the Pro Football Writers of America announced that its members have chosen Kupp as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. (The PFWA selected Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as MVP.)
Voting for that award was preceded by Kupp’s latest heroics, the catch of a 44-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to set up Matt Gaye’s last-second field goal in the Rams’ 30-27 victory over the Buccaneers last Sunday.
Of course, Samuel was also responsible for propelling his team, a Packers completing a 45-yard return from the second-half kickoff to begin the drive for the 49ers’ first score in a 13-10 victory at Green Bay. Bowling to Tackler.
San Francisco special teams coordinator Richard Hightower recalls coaching Samuel in the 2019 Senior Bowl. Samuel rode with Hightower to practice each day so that he would be one of the first to arrive and work on the punt return. Samuel had driven back four kickoffs for touchdowns in South Carolina, but had little experience returning punts.
“(He said), ‘I want to try anything, coach,'” Hightower remembered Samuel saying. “Most guys wouldn’t do that. They don’t want to embarrass themselves. But he’s the tough son of a gun.”
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said he and Samuel talk about the physical sacrifice made by the receiver, running between tackles as a ball carrier and breaking tackles for 768 yards after catches this season – In second place behind Kupp’s 846.
“But Deebo handled it well,” Shanahan said. “He’s one of the main reasons we’re here. I think it’s one of the things that has given him the opportunity to become one of the best players in the NFL.
Samuel has said that he doesn’t really pay attention to the other receivers. But Kupp has noticed Samuel.
“He’s really a very special player,” Kupp said. “I’ve seen Dibo Samuel a lot.”
If Rama wanted, he could not have avoided seeing.
Samuel, 26, signed by the 49ers three years ago as an unfinished rookie, caught and carried the ball for 273 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers’ two regular-season wins against the Rams this season.
Kupp, meanwhile, had 258 yards in total offense and a touchdown against 49.
“I think they are great football players who are full receivers,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Some of the things that Deebo does when he’s lined up as a running back are really special stuff.
“Cooper is very similar. We’re giving him a carry from a dot, not an offset gun. He’s part of our blocking surfaces. He does a lot of different things.
“I think you’re talking about two well-deserved first-team All-Pro players, two guys who have been instrumental in getting their teams where they belong.”
The first injury report of the week showed missing practice Wednesday from Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee), offensive lineman Joe Notebook (pec) and nose tackler Greg Gaines (toe). Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) and safety Taylor were limited in rap (concussion) practice, which progresses after Whitworth’s exit from the Tampa Bay game and the rap was out in the last two. The Niners missed practice behind Elijah Mitchell (knee) and left tackle Trent Williams (ankle). Shanahan said he expects Williams to play on Sunday; The All-Pro missed the regular season finale against the Rams due to an elbow injury.