OAKLAND — Marcus Peters loves Oakland.
If you didn't know that's where he's from, you must not be paying attention. It's where he's from, and it's where his family currently resides.
Since he's been with the Rams, Peters has talked about how convenient it is for him to get home whenever he needs to — "50-minute flight" he often says.
And so when Peters capped the Rams' 33-16 victory on Monday Night Football with a pick six, it was special.
Monday was Peters' first game as a Ram. And no, it wasn't his first time playing in the famed "Black Hole" of the Oakland Coliseum since he spent his first three professional seasons in the AFC West. But it still was an interception with a 50-yard return for his fourth career defensive touchdown. It still was his 20th interception in 46 regular-season games — a mark that leads the league by far since 2015. And it still was a big play many members of his family were there to witness — both in the crowd and on the opposing sideline.
Perhaps well known, perhaps not, Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is Peters' cousin. And that's certainly a reason why he — as Peters put it — "did the Beastmode" when entering the end zone after racing 50 yards down the field for Los Angeles' first defensive score of the year.
"Really, a big-time play by Marcus to really close out that game," head coach Sean McVay said.
Realistically, Los Angeles had already put the game out of reach. The score was 26-13 following kicker Greg Zuerlein's 20-yard field goal with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter. Sure, anything can happen in football and the Raiders were looking to get a quick touchdown on their ensuing drive. They recorded a first down, but a play later, Peters was there to place the exclamation point on the defense's second-half shutout.
On 2nd-and-7 from the Oakland 47, quarterback Derek Carr looked for his favorite target on the night, tight end Jared Cook. While Cook certainly got his throughout the night — finishing Monday's contest with nine receptions on 12 targets for 180 yards — this pass was for Peters. The cornerback read the route perfectly, jumped it, and caught the pass in an area where no one would be able to touch him on the way to the house.
"You see the way he works in practice, the way that he prepares, there's a reason why he's had so much production getting interceptions he's had throughout the course of his career — because he recognizes things," McVay said. "He's got the ability to finish and make those plays and make you pay. He does that with confidence."
Check out in-game photos from the Rams' season opener against the Raiders in Oakland.
When he makes plays like that, Peters' energy seems to be infectious. So many of Peters' teammates and coaches — including McVay — sprinted down the sideline to greet the hometown corner as he was exiting the field after the pick six.
"I love that type of stuff. That's my type of player I want to be around all day — a guy like him, [Aqib] Talib, and [Ndamukong] Suh, Sam Shields," running back Todd Gurley said. "So we talk about before the game, 'Get hype' — and I love it, man. I'm glad he's on our team. We came in the same year — Offensive, Defensive Rookie of the Years together. So happy to be able to play with that guy."
To top off Peters' happy homecoming, McVay decided to award Peters with a game ball in the locker room once the win was officially complete.
"I appreciate everything that this organization has been doing for me since I've been here," Peters said. "It feels good to be around here. It feels good to be an L.A. Ram and I appreciate it."