When the Los Angeles Rams acquired Jalen Ramsey via trade in 2019 the hope was that he, one of the best defensive players in the National Football League would combine with ‘the’ best defensive player in the league, Aaron Donald to create a formidable unit. In 2020, the hope came to fruition when the Rams defense was the number one ranked defense across all major categories.
This season, under new coordinator Raheem Morris, the defense has hit highs and lows, but the highlights include two plays that Donald and Ramsey literally combined for game changing plays.
When thinking in terms of how the pair, a defensive lineman and a cornerback, would directly affect a given play, one ideal scenario is that Donald would apply the pressure and cause the quarterback to throw a pass that an elite cover man like Ramsey would pick off to take advantage. That exact thing happened against the Detroit Lions to put the game on ice. Jared Goff dropped back to take a shot at the end zone but was forced to get the ball off or take a sack as Donald crashed into him. Not only was he forced to get the ball off but was likely forced, or made the poor decision, to throw it towards Ramsey who jumped it, picked it, and continued to celebrate the day that also happened to be his birthday.
Snatching Wins like Jalen Ramsey on his birthday! @jalenramsey @RamsNFL #NFL pic.twitter.com/3US5Sp0jGU— Blane Dydasco (@BlaneDydasco) October 25, 2021
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it happened again. This time the play involved Donald on run coverage getting through the line and grabbing hold of the running back. Then, demonstrating his unique strength, technical ability, and awareness, uses a tackle and rip move to strip the ball while simultaneously slamming the ball carrier to the ground. With the ball live and on the turf, Ramsey was on the spot having anticipated perfectly to scoop up the fumble and secure it for the Rams.
Aaron Donald for defensive play of the week! @RamsNFL #NFL pic.twitter.com/KEhw194IwR— Blane Dydasco (@BlaneDydasco) December 7, 2021
And now for today’s links:
Coleman Shelton settles in quickly after being called into action on short notice (Rams.com)
Cooper Kupp shared a brilliant breakdown of his 29-yard TD vs. Jaguars (Rams.com)
Brian Allen day-to-day with MCL sprain, not ruled out for Week 14 (RamsWire)
Don’t look now, LA Rams, but it’s Coleman Shelton season (RamblinFan)
2021 NFL season, Week 13: What we learned from Patriots’ win over Bills (NFL.com)
2022 NFL Draft order: Jaguars inch closer to No. 1 overall pick after Lions’ first win (NFL.com)
Los Angeles Chargers put leading WR Keenan Allen on reserve/COVID-19 list (ESPN)
2021 NFL playoff picture: Full postseason standings, wild card race, projected opening matchups (CBSsports)