Los Angeles Rams return man Brandon Powell was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after scoring a touchdown on a 61-yard punt return in the Week 16 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
For much of the season, the Rams have struggled to find a quality returner, although Powell has taken that role over with a number of nice returns in recent weeks, culminating in his first career touchdown.
The punt return was a big one considering the Rams had just thrown two interceptions and saw their 13-3 lead cut to 13-10. The Vikings had taken all of the momentum, although Powell stole it right back with one return and L.A. eventually went on to win.
After the game, Sean McVay discussed what went into that return by Powell.
“Hey, he scored, he was clear right there. It was a great job. I was very excited. Any time you see a play like that, it’s a good reflection of the unit. That’s why football is the greatest team sport there is. We were able to get the wall set up perfectly. He goes right down the sideline. I thought Hoecht’s block at the end to really finish that out was instrumental and really being able to punch that in. We had to have that. You talk about you could feel it was a three-point game. We were sputtering a little bit offensively. To go back up 10 was big time. What an outstanding job by our special teams, Joe (DeCamillis) and Dwayne Stukes deserve a lot of credit, but mostly those players that make it come to life. I was fired up for them. He can flip in as long as it’s safe and there’s nobody by him.”
McVay also discussed how the Rams found Powell and what he has brought to the team.
“Really it was one of those deals kind of keeping eyes open. Great job by Les and his group. Raheem Morris had some familiarity with him. Matthew even played with him in Detroit. He’s a guy that’s kind of been around. He is an impressive guy. He’s brought a great spark to our team. He’s been excellent in really both phases of the return, not only the kick return and punt return. You felt his presence made immediately when he started returning them against Jacksonville, and for him to have the punt return for the touchdown, what a great job by the special teams.”
To win in the playoffs it will take contributions in all three phases, so it is good to see that the Rams have finally found a quality returner in Powell.