Lost amongst all the raging Baker mania that’s swept the city of Los Angeles since Thursday night has been a star flying relatively under the radar in 2022. That star is Bobby Wagner and he’s been playing some of the best football of his career during the most disappointing Rams season since 2016. Wagner etched his name further into the record books during the win.
His level of production has been quite remarkable throughout his 11-year career and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down either. The six-time First-Team All-Pro has four games this season with at least 10 tackles. For the season, he sits at seventh across the league in total tackles. Despite not being considered an overly dominant pass rusher, he has tied a career high with five sacks on the year. The last time Bwags had five sacks came in 2013 when he helped lead the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl Title.
Against the Raiders, Wagner notched a season-high 14 combined tackles in the comeback win. None bigger than this crucial third down stop which stopped the Raiders (and renowned crybaby Derek Carr) dead in their tracks.
Remember how all these analysts were criticizing the Rams for signing a player supposedly past his prime? Wagner hasn’t been perfect in every phase but would any of those talking heads like to say that again with him chasing them down? With the speed on that guy, I would just log off Twitter and go into hiding if I were them. Especially after seeing this:
The highest-graded LB this season:— PFF (@PFF) December 8, 2022
Bobby Wagner - 90.3 pic.twitter.com/5WXzTYrqNF
In his first game against the only team he called home, the highest-graded linebacker had a game to remember. One that nearly caused Pete Carroll to swallow his gum.
The Rams played hard on Sunday and no one played harder than LB Bobby Wagner. He had 7 tackles, 2 sacks and an INT against his former team. Wagner has tied his career best of 5 sacks on the season, with 5 games yet to play. Hopefully in year 2 as a Ram, Wagner returns to playoffs pic.twitter.com/aXIAS4SYOJ— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) December 5, 2022
It’s not all about the defense prowess for Wagner. When LA signed him back in March, it was expected the Rams would be getting a leader to guide the team back to the Big Game. As we’re already aware, Los Angeles isn’t going to repeat but that shouldn’t take away from Bobby’s impact on the team since his arrival. During the worst season of his coaching career, Sean McVay has been very appreciative of the veteran’s contribution to the organization.
“I’ve been so pleased with just the consistency; I’ve been so impressed just being around him,” said McVay via Sports Illustrated. “There are so many guys that have been here, but as you continue to get to know Bobby Wagner, you see his consistency and his steadiness and the influence that he has.”
Wagner along with fellow free agent addition Allen Robinson were brought in to replace a pair of team leaders in Von Miller and Robert Woods respectively. Robinson has proven to be a bust even before his injury while Bwags has lived up to his billing. An ageless wonder and future Hall of Famer, linebacker Bobby Wagner has been everything the Rams hoped he would be and more.
Bobby Wagner takes no plays off. That's what a leader does. Hated Von not signing back with us, but getting Wagner as a result was a great move...moving forward. Ernest Jones is, and will be, better for it as well.— Mike Winchell (@mrmikewinch) December 9, 2022
Following LA’s ridculous win over Las Vegas in primetime, these were Wagner’s postgame comments:
Bobby Wagner: “We have had a tough season. But we take pride in what we do. We fight. That’s all we can ask for, is guys giving us everything they have each game, each play. This was a good win.” pic.twitter.com/INzzZmRI1t— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 9, 2022
Let’s all hold our breath and hope the Rams can deliver him a better season in 2023. After all the fight he’s put into this miserable campaign, no one deserves it more.