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Troy Hill has allowed all 12 throws in his direction to be completed so far

The Rams could have a breakout star at cornerback, which only makes Hill’s role that much more important

NFL: SEP 20 Rams at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On the defense’s final play of last week’s win against the Eagles, Troy Hill made an impressive diving interception on an overthrow by Carson Wentz. The ball was not thrown “at” Hill, but because it was too high for the intended receiver to catch it, the important object was acquired by a surprise recipient. Two games into the season, Troy Hill has an interception.

He may also have already allowed nearly half as many completions as he did in all of 2019.

According to Pro-Football-Reference, both Wentz and Dak Prescott in Week 1 went 6-of-6 when throwing in Hill’s direction. Prescott gained 80 yards on those throws with an average depth of target of 8.2 yards, while Wentz didn’t go as deep and gained 55 yards with an ADOT of 5.5. In 14 games last season, Hill’s numbers were 26 completions allowed on 57 targets for 330 yards gained.

Hill only allowed two touchdowns by their numbers and with two interceptions added in, the “passer rating allowed” by the Rams sixth year cornerback was 61.3.

This season, those two quarterbacks have gone 12-of-12 for 135 yards and no touchdowns. The passer rating allowed is 78.8 but that’s only because PFR is including the interception that they aren’t including when they say QBs went 12-of-12. So the interception actually shouldn’t be there and in reality that passer rating allowed is 113.5.

What situations did these completions come in against Philadelphia?

  • 1st-and-10, 14 yards to Jalen Reagor*
  • 1st-and-10, 8 yards to Reagor
  • 3rd-and-4, 9 yards to DeSean Jackson*
  • 3rd-and-6, 9 yards to Jackson*
  • 1st-amd-10, 3 yards to Reagor
  • 3rd-and-10, 8 yards to Jackson

*First Down

That’s three first downs, two of which came on third down on a drive that ended with Darious Williams intercepting Wentz in the end zone.

Against the Cowboys, I could only track down these three:

  • 2nd-and-6, 3 yards to CeeDee Lamb
  • 1st-and-20, 9 yards to Lamb
  • 1st-and-10, 12 yards to Michael Gallup*

It would seem that Hill has become a popular target, six throws per game. That would come out to 96 targets on the season, significantly more than Hill faced in 2019. With Jalen Ramsey on the field, Hill has to become the main point of focus for offensive coordinators, especially if Williams continues to shine.

This season, Darious Williams has allowed five completions on nine targets, allowing 68 yards, 55 of which have come in the air. Both players had impressive displays of athleticism on their interceptions, but Williams appeared to make his play happen by force of will and reading Wentz, who said after the game:

“I got pretty aggressive and tried to force one in there,” Wentz said. “[Williams] made a great play. I have to be smarter in that situation.”

If Ramsey and Williams become a fearsome cornerback duo — “become” being a loose usage of the word given how effective they’ve been since December of 2019 — then offenses will need look elsewhere. So far that elsewhere has been Hill and so far the results have worked out better for the quarterbacks than it has for the cornerback.

Facing a Bills team with Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley at receiver, plus some of the best depth in the league with Isaiah McKenzie and Gabe Davis, the Rams will need a full complement of competence at corner this Sunday.