INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Given his stature and reputation, Jalen Ramsey does not get tested by opposing quarterbacks very often.
So, when the ball comes his way, there can only be one outcome for the All-Pro Rams cornerback.
"For me personally, when I play, I play thinking I'll make a play when my opportunity comes," Ramsey said. "Just because I don't get a lot of opportunities throughout the game all the time, so I try to maximize when I do get the opportunity."
His opportunity came with just over five minutes remaining in Sunday's game against the Lions. After reaching the Rams 12-yard line, Lions quarterback Jared Goff dropped back to pass and targeted tight end T.J. Hockenson, only to see Ramsey jump in front of it in the endzone for an interception.
The Rams had taken the lead 25-19 the drive before on a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to wide receiver Cooper Kupp and ensuing 2-point conversion by wide receiver Robert Woods, and needed a stop. Ramsey supplied one that led to a 47-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay that effectively put the game out of reach.
Ramsey said defensive lineman Aaron Donald got good pressure, "so he probably affected the pass." Rams head coach Sean McVay saw the same.
"Huge. All the above," McVay said, when asked if the pick was a great read or great athletic play by Ramsey. "It was great concept trigger. Great recognition. I thought to force a little bit of an erred thrown by Aaron Donald, you could see, I mean, he did a great job. He was right in Jared's face immediately. Won right off the snap. Any time you get that internal pressure on a quarterback, that's always much more difficult. And then to have the ball skills to slice underneath that, make that play. I just told him, I said, 'I thought you were going to take that all the way back.' He's a stud. And you talk about big time players stepping up in a moment. We had to have it from our defense and those guys delivered in a big way. And that's why Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are who they are."
Of course, Ramsey also affected the game in other ways, like a huge third-down hit on Goff in the first quarter, or stopping Lions running back D'Andre Swift for a 1-yard loss four plays later – both on a drive that the Lions eventually settled for one of their four field goals.
Overall, Ramsey finished Sunday's game with six total tackles, one QB hit and one pass breakup in addition to the clutch interception.
"That play by Jalen is unbelievable, you know?" Stafford said. "I mean, that's a long drive. They're going down there, they're about to get seven and make it really tough on us. And he just comes out of nowhere and makes the play of the day. So I'm happy to be on the team with a guy like that. And I'm just happy we came away with a win."