INGLEWOOD, Calif. – For most of the season, Rams wide receiverBen Skowronek has gotten attention for his blocking, especially when lining up at fullback out of 11 personnel.
Last week, it was because of his playmaking as a receiver, as he turned in a career-best seven catches for 89 yards in Los Angeles' 17-16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Skowronek got started early, making a 22-yard catch on quarterback Baker Mayfield's first series as a Ram. In the fourth quarter, he posted receptions of 14 and 6 yards on the touchdown-scoring drive that made it one-possession game.
His biggest grab of the game, though, came on the game-winning drive, when he lept and caught the ball over his defender for a 32-yard gain that eventually set up teammate Van Jefferson's 23-yard touchdown catch.
"Catch the ball, I guess," Skowronek said, when asked what was going through his mind as he was completing the play. "It's something I've done my whole life playing receiver, being able to win those contested catches, deep balls, stuff like that. I haven't been able to do it so much in the NFL yet, so it feels great, but at the end of day, it was like, 'make a play.' There's no other option but to make a play."
Skowronek's overall production last Thursday brought him to 38 catches for 373 receiving yards while making 10 starts and playing in all 13 of the Rams' games so far this season. He's tripled his catch total from his rookie year, and he's close do doing the same with his receiving yards total (133 last season).
"I think just confidence, I think getting opportunities," said Rams head coach Sean McVay, when asked what he's seen from Jefferson, Skowronek and Tutu Atwell over the last two weeks. "You watch Van, has always been a guy that's produced and made a lot of big plays and key moments for us going back the last couple years. But I think him getting comfortable playing like the guy that we know after just kind of returning from the injury. Tutu, it's awesome to watch his growth and maturation and his comfort and confidence and his play swagger and same thing with Ben. He got into a rhythm, he made a couple key critical catches, thought the third down that almost got us down in a scoring position when we turned it over was huge, but he really was able to capitalize on that momentum and confidence is a powerful thing and it can compound quickly, and I think that's what you're seeing from those guys."