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Rams Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley well-armed for stiff competition with tacklers

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

LOS ANGELES -- It began as a typical Cooper Kupp reception.

In last week's victory over the New Orleans Saints, the Rams' slot receiver lined up on the left side, and then broke toward the middle of the field, catching a pass from quarterback Jared Goff at the 40-yard line. Kupp ran with the ball for 10 yards -- and then things got interesting.

As Kupp crossed midfield at full speed, Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore closed in. That's when Kupp, without breaking stride, extended his left arm and stuck his hand in Lattimore's face.

The expertly executed stiff-arm move stunned the defender, and helped spring Kupp for a 66-yard gain.

"It's a really good tool to have," Kupp said Thursday.

His best stiff-arm ever?

 

"It's up there," he said.

The stiff-arm has been around for as long as football has been played. The Heisman Trophy statue depicts a bronzed ball-carrier in a perfect stiff-arm pose.

Hall of Fame running backs Earl Campbell and Walter Payton are among those who expertly employed the move in the 1970s and 1980s, and Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, Marion Barber and Adrian Peterson were among those to carry the torch into the 2000s.

Rams running back Todd Gurley is regarded as one of the NFL's best stiff-arm practitioners, not for violent punches but for his ability to keep defenders almost endlessly at arm's length.

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