And it was a play where he didn’t need the ball. But needed to protect his quarterback Matthew Stafford.
That particular play saw the new Rams running back explode into someone — with the clip of his play going viral on Monday night at 9:10 p.m. PT.
Michel Picks up Blitz, Literally
The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen, who serves as the publication’s film analysis expert, released the clip of Michel hammering into an oncoming Bucs defender.
Michel read Ross Cockrell coming in on the slot cornerback blitz. Michel redirects himself, lowers his shoulder and in the process…lowers the boom and sends Cockrell flying into the air at SoFi Stadium.
Michel’s devastating blitz pickup prompted this question from Nguyen’s Athletic colleague Seth Keysor.
Meanwhile, one You Tube video not only posted Michel blowing into Cockrell, but attached this question to the video.
Fans began chiming in and raving about Michel’s clip after release of the five second video, including one from fans of the Rams in Seattle.
One fan gave Michel the clapping Leonardo DiCaprio gif.
ESPN Associate Sports Scout Jacob Nierob called the Michel block a way to become endearing for your team in this tweet.
This fan called the Michel block a veteran move.
Then, one Miami Dolphins fan wondered if Michel could take on edge rushers as a closet left tackle with that kind of blocking prowess in this online reaction.
Lastly, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who is also best known for her coverage of the Rams for the media outlet, responded to Nguyen’s clip with this humorous take.
According to Pro Football Focus, Michel passed blocked on three plays versus the Bucs. However, he didn’t allow any pressures and was rewarded with a high 78.5 grade in protecting Stafford.
His grade could be because he pressed the detonator on Cockrell.
Michel’s Pass Protecting History
It’s certainly not the first time Michel has caught a body on pass blocks.
Back in 2019, Michel took a fake handoff from his former New England Patriots teammate Tom Brady then worked his way to New York Giants linebacker David Mayo. Because of the way Michel got underneath Mayo, it prompted a famous line by the Yahoo! Fantasy Football Twitter account from the blockbuster 2000 film “Remember the Titans.”
Here’s another one from Michel’s greatest hits collection, which was one of his last highlight plays as a Patriot. He not only chips the defensive end on the Philadelphia Eagles in this August 19, 2021 clip, but sends this defender to the grass.
Michel is no stranger to staying and protecting the quarterback. During the 2020 season, Michel pass blocked on 15 offensive snaps according to PFF. He only surrendered one sack and was rewarded with a 73.2 pass protection grade by the analytics site.
The 2019 season was his best year of keeping rushers away from his QB. Michel had to protect Brady on 37 snaps via PFF — and went on to receive an impressive 82.5 pass block rating and didn’t allow a sack or pressure.
Michel told reporters during the week leading up to the NFC showdown with the defending Super Bowl champions that when his number is called, he’s got to be ready.
Well, his number was certainly called on that block. And he proved he can do damage for the Rams without the football in his hands.