THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow thought he had a completion to wide receiver Tyler Boyd late in the fourth quarter Monday night's game that would have had Cincinnati at the Los Angeles 20-yard line.
That was, until Rams defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon moved quickly enough to jump in front of it and take it away from Boyd's grasp.
In that moment, Witherspoon recorded his first interception as a Ram, and gave them the chance to potentially tie the game or take the lead.
"I saw the ball in the air and the goal was just to go get it," Witherspoon said. "Honestly, it was so fast. That moment in the game, I was a little surprised that ball even came out, just because I thought they would be a little safer, up by seven, but ball was in the air and it was just time to get it."
Witherspoon also accounted for the Rams' first turnover created this season with that pick, which also gave them a chance to potentially tie Monday night's game.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said the play was impressive because typically turnovers are a product of technique and opportunity meeting, but in Witherspoon's instance, it was both great technique and elite play combining to get the takeaway.
"Every once in a while you have those and when you have elite plays that are not just technique and opportunity, that was a 'wow' moment and it was a big moment," Morris said. "It was a moment they had the chance to actually get that thing and potentially tie that thing up or take the lead, whatever the case may be. It was a big moment for those guys to step up at a big time in the game, particularly what happened the previous play to the very next play to have a chance to get a turnover right there, which was our first of the year."
As Morris mentioned, the ensuing drive didn't result in points, but the takeaway was still valuable in what it meant for Los Angeles' defense. He used it as a point of positive reinforcement when speaking to the defense during the unit's meeting Wednesday.
"That was one thing I commended the guys on today, how much better they went after the ball in this game as opposed to the first two," Morris said. "Not that they didn't do it in the first two, but their intent felt different. Even though you didn't get them all out or some of the bouncers didn't go your way, the tip from (defensive back Jordan) Fuller or some of those type of things. You really felt the great intent from a turnover standpoint and the importance of it. When a guy like that makes a big play, it's always huge."
Takeaways like those would go a long way in helping the Rams this Sunday in Indianapolis against a Colts offense that has only three turnovers committed all season, tied with the Titans, Dolphins and Saints for 11th-fewest allowed.
That starts with carrying over the intent toward creating them shown in Week 3.