INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Based on Patriots quarterback Cam Newton's mannerisms, Rams linebacker Kenny Young could sense a screen pass was coming. With a little help from teammate Aaron Donald disrupting the receiver's route, he was more than ready for it.
Young immediately jumped Newton's pass early in the second quarter, then took the interception 79 yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown in Thursday night's 24-3 Rams win over the Patriots.
A pick-six for the first interception of his NFL career.
"It felt amazing. It felt like the first time," Young said in his postgame video conference. "Honestly, a bunch of emotions running right now, but felt good. Felt pretty good."
Los Angeles' defense – and offense – were likely just as excited as Young.
An interception by New England defensive back Myles Bryant just three plays earlier had upended a chance for L.A.'s offense to expand a 10-0 lead following a second-straight 3-and-out by its defense.
A 12-yard carry and a 1-yard carry by running back Damien Harris after Bryant's pick put the Patriots at the Rams 19, and, so long as they took care of the ball, in position to at least make it a one-possession game.
Young had other plans.
"I just jumped it," Young said. "He threw a bad ball and he paid for that."
"What a swing in momentum," Rams head coach Sean McVay said of the play.
Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers said plays like Young's Thursday night are a direct translation from their preparation each week.
"We've just been picking it up, man," Brockers said. "We've been getting our hands on a lot of balls in practice as far as tips and overthrows and picks and stuff like that, and we've been returning them in practice."
Thanks to Young's efforts, the Rams notched their third consecutive game with a defensive touchdown for the first time since 2003.
While he was happy to get his first career interception, he was more proud of Los Angeles' defense overall.
"It's not so much that I had the pick-six, I'm just really very proud of the way we played together, how connected we played for four quarters in all three phases," Young said. "We came together and showed up. That feels really, really good, when your brothers and you play very, very well."