THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Riley Dixon has been in the NFL for seven seasons and played in more than 100 games, with more than 500 career punts.
Last Sunday, the Rams punter achieved an unfamiliar first: The first zero-punt game of his NFL career.
"(It was) exciting," Dixon told theRams.com Thursday. "I mean, obviously I love what I do, but it's a good thing for our team normally as long as I'm not punting. A lot of things gotta go for go right for that. Took care of the ball offensively, and that again is another one of those things, because no punts with six picks (for example) isn't really a great day for us, you know what I mean? So it was pretty cool."
The Rams scored on each of their eight meaningful possessions in Week 16 – their ninth was the kneel-down to end the game – which left Dixon with holding duty on extra points as his primary and only responsibility by the end of the game.
"It's almost tough, because you've got to stay loose for a 3-hour game," Dixon said. "So I'm in the net, I'm stretching, I'm always ready. You're always waiting for your opportunity, but not getting one, kind of fun."
Dixon commemorated the unusual milestone by sharing a picture of him and quarterback Baker Mayfield holding up zeroes on social media, which he indicated was inspired by watching Saints punter Thomas Morstead and quarterback Drew Brees growing up. (Morstead, now with the Dolphins, also did the same with Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa when he had a repeat achievement of the feat earlier this season).
"I always remember watching Thomas Morstead down in New Orleans with Drew Brees, and they'd always hold up the zero and post a picture after the game, and I thought, 'Man, that must be pretty cool," Dixon said. "But yeah, in my seven-year career, that was my first one."
If Dixon does punt in Week 17, it would be beneficial toward helping the Rams winning the field position battle against a Chargers offense that ranks 11th in the league in total yards of offense per game and has scored 20 or more points in 11 of its 15 games this season.
Until then, he'll appreciate this rare feat.