Welcome to the eighth edition of “Who to Rep,” our ongoing series in which we recommend a player to rep for the upcoming week. Our selection process is rigorously unscientific, but we hope you like it anyway.
Well, it took seven weeks for Amari Cooper to look like Amari Cooper, but man, did he look like the best version of Amari Cooper. On Thursday night against the Chiefs, Cooper doubled his season yardage by halftime, and finished with 210 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 receptions. That sort of a breakout performance after Cooper’s slow start made him an easy pick for Who to Rep, even over standout teammates Derek Carr (back from a busted back for over 400 passing yards and 3 touchdowns), Michael Crabtree (at least one game-winning score), and new teammate NaVorro Bowman (leading the team in tackles in his debut).
It’s no secret that Cooper’s first few weeks hadn’t gone to plan, with some dropped passes and underwhelming yardage, but on Thursday he finally looked the Pro Bowl superstar Oakland has come to know and love; his on-field chemistry with Derek Carr (the two share the couples’ nickname “AC/DC”) was back on display, and even the division-leading Chiefs were helpless to stop him.
The upset over Kansas City was obviously a team effort, but it all started with Cooper’s thunderstruck first quarter, outsprinting the Kansas City defense to a touchdown not once but twice. Cooper was determined to keep that momentum on Oakland’s side, and even after the Chiefs adjusted their coverage to account for Cooper’s speed by playing a few feet deep on him, he kept coming. With defenders in front of him, Cooper repeatedly used his strength and toughness to bulldog his way to a couple extra yards on what seemed like every single catch. He also had two huge, tackle-defying receptions late in the fourth quarter to keep Oakland alive and set up Crabtree’s last-play heroics.
After a performance like that on Color Rush week, Cooper’s probably wishing he could bust out his Color Rush jersey all season long. He can’t, but fans can, and as far as we’re concerned there’s no time like the present: rep #89 this week (in Color Rush or otherwise) to celebrate Amari getting his groove back.