Trailing by four with 1:16 remaining on the clock, quarterback Sean Mannion dropped back and delivered a 20-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Josh Reynolds. In what proved to be the difference-maker of the Rams' 24-21 win over the Raiders, Reynolds hauled in his first NFL catch.
"It definitely is a motivational kind of thing knowing that you come in for your first NFL game, something you have always dreamed about, and you score. It's crazy," he said.
Reynolds, the fourth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M caught 164 passes for 2,788 yards and 30 touchdowns in three seasons as an Aggie. He was brought onto the Rams in the hopes of providing the team with both a red-zone and vertical threat.
But just a few days into training camp, things took turn for the young receiver. He was sidelined for the majority of the team's sessions at UC Irvine and the first preseason game against the Cowboys with a quad injury.
"It's a mental struggle and it's not something you're used to," Reynolds said. "So, you come in here and you're the new guy, the rookie, and you still have something to prove — getting hurt and then not being able to
practice, it's discouraging. You pretty much have to be tough mentally and just know you're a pro."
And that's exactly what he did, quickly putting his injury behind him and making use of the time he did have left in camp. On his first day back on field, the receiver put on a show for fans and coaches alike, grabbing passes off the deep routes and in the red zone, and hauling in contested balls in traffic.
When asked whether he expected to bounce back as quickly and forcibly as he did, Reynolds laughed, saying, "Oh, definitely, that was my mindset all along."
"I was thinking 'Nobody is expecting me for like a week and a half or two weeks, so I gotta get my name talked about,' he added. "And that's what I did. I'm proud of myself and just want to continue to try to elevate my game."
Though the Rams have a deep and diverse receiving corps, Reynolds believes he brings something special to the table — his size. And in Saturday's win over the Raiders, the receiver's capabilities were on full display.
"Being one of the tallest receivers, I definitely bring my height and my length," he said. "That's one of the things that led me to the score in the game and them putting trust in me. With my height and my playmaking abilities, I'm able to stretch the field and go up for those 50-50 balls."
This weekend, Reynolds will get his first opportunity to play in the Coliseum against the Chargers. He should provide the Rams with yet another offensive weapon to go alongside wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods and others.
"I'm definitely trying to make some plays," Reynolds said. "I'm trying to be that versatile receiver and I'm getting there, so I'll be able to bring more to the table as time goes on. But when the ball is thrown my way, I'm trying to catch everything and just help the team win. There is nothing better than winning."