THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Jalen Ramsey has always had a knack for making plays, but there was still one stat that had eluded the Rams defensive back, even in his seventh NFL season.
Until last Sunday.
Ramsey's early third-quarter take down of Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush last Sunday gave him his first career sack – one he seemed overdue for.
"Well, we've been talking about it for quite some time, Jalen and I, particularly when we started playing him a little bit more at the star position, getting him to the side, getting some of the pressures," Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said.
"It was cool, it was fun," said Ramsey, who was as surprised as some of his teammates and coaches were. "I had every other statistic basically besides a sack, so it's been a long time coming."
The three-time First-Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler's resume speaks for itself, having recorded 384 total tackles, 16 interceptions, 79 pass breakups, four QB hits and four forced fumbles – now in addition to the sack – across 96 career games so far.
There were other times where he was close to getting that sack, too.
Morris recalled two instances last season, one where he believed Ramsey got a QB hit on Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and another on Lions quarterback Jared Goff. Morris said he didn't even realize it in last Sunday's game against the Cowboys, and Ramsey came to him excitedly talking about it.
"That's pretty cool for him," Morris said. "That's a pretty cool stat line in order to be able to get those things. For a great player to feel that kind of excitement, it always makes you happy. Let's you know the game is fun."
It was important to Ramsey that he had sole ownership of the statistic, too.
"Yeah, I remember he was talking about it last year though because he got half a sack and he didn't like that," Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said Thursday. "He said, 'I need a whole sack, I don't want to count that.' I remember when he said that last year so when he got that sack last week, that's why I said something to him. I'm happy for him."
Ramsey knows he still has a ways to go to catch up to Donald, but there's no denying the impact his ability to do sacks has on Los Angeles' defense.
"I think it's a thing that offenses have to pay attention to, especially a guy like Jalen," Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner said Wednesday. "Jalen can do a lot of amazing things, which is why it surprised me that was his first one. I think maybe all the other ones were TFLs (tackle for losses). You have to account for him, account for a guy like that, account for our nickels and you have to slide to that protection. Again, a lot of it is trying to create one-on-ones, so if you slide that way, AD (defensive lineman Aaron Donald) is over there. Again, you've got to pick your poison."