For a moment, it appeared as though the Los Angeles Rams were on the verge of giving up their 25-19 lead after allowing the Detroit Lions into their red zone with just over five minutes remaining.
The Rams were in desperate need of a big play if they were going to avoid the potential go-ahead score. Fortunately, cornerback Jalen Ramsey once again found a way to step up to the occasion.
With the help of some pressure from defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Ramsey was able to jump in front of an errant pass from quarterback Jared Goff. The key turnover set up a 47-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay to put the nail in the coffin of a 28-19 victory.
As the league’s premier shutdown cornerback, quarterbacks tend to throw away from Ramsey’s direction. However, he revealed that this has only spurred him to capitalize on any opportunities, via Stu Jackson of the team’s official website:
“For me personally, when I play, I play thinking I’ll make a play when my opportunity comes,” Ramsey said. “Just because I don’t get a lot of opportunities throughout the game all the time, so I try to maximize when I do get the opportunity.”
Head coach Sean McVay credited both Ramsey and Donald with their efforts in securing a third straight win for the Rams:
“Huge. All the above,” McVay said, when asked if the pick was a great read or great athletic play by Ramsey. “It was great concept trigger. Great recognition. I thought to force a little bit of an erred thrown by Aaron Donald, you could see, I mean, he did a great job. He was right in Jared’s face immediately. Won right off the snap. Any time you get that internal pressure on a quarterback, that’s always much more difficult. And then to have the ball skills to slice underneath that, make that play. I just told him, I said, ‘I thought you were going to take that all the way back.’ He’s a stud. And you talk about big time players stepping up in a moment. We had to have it from our defense and those guys delivered in a big way. And that’s why Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are who they are.”
Ramsey and Donald are two of the best players at their position and help make up the foundation of this defense. The play provided a stark reminder of their elite status, especially in close-game situations.
Even if his opportunities in the passing game are few and far in between, Ramsey has no problem making his presence felt all over the field. Aside from the interception, he set the tone with six total tackles, one pass breakup and a QB hit.
This group is all too accustomed to serving as the backbone of the Rams’ success in years past. While the team has benefitted from the turnaround on offense, it is evident the onus will still fall on the defense to provide a spark when needed.