Taylor Rapp has been tested, criticized, called to the bench and was mentioned as a player the Los Angeles Rams should trade before the season.
How did the third-year safety respond on Sunday, October 17? By putting together a career day…and showing why the Rams trusted him to be in the defensive starting lineup all along.
Rapp snatched two interceptions, swatted three pass deflections and collected six tackles (one solo) in the Rams’ 38-11 romp of the New York Giants. The Rams have often mentioned how their system, especially on defense, is designed for anyone to breakout. Sunday belonged to “T. Rapp” and he became a trendy topic on Rams’ Twitter.
And one who criticized Giants quarterback Daniel Jones more on Rapp’s huge afternoon:
But with that kind of day, Rapp was given this reward via his head coach Sean McVay:
And how did Rapp get to this epic day in East Rutherford, New Jersey?
“Using my instincts, reading the QB eyes, drop everything…just preparation for the game,” Rapp told reporters after the road rout.
Here’s a closer look at Rapp’s dominating day.
Rapp Helps Fill Gap on Key 4th Down Stop
We’ll start chronologically.
The Rams started slow with a sluggish first quarter and trailing briefly 3-0. The Giants tried to keep the momentum on their side by gambling on 4th and 1 from near midfield.
However, Rapp plays close to the line of scrimmage on this play. He creeps up, reading where the run was going. Rapp then helps fill this gap and gets the Rams to force the turnover on downs seen below.
One reason why Rapp starts is because of his tackling ability in the box, with Rapp taking 91 snaps near the line of scrimmage before Sunday’s game according to Pro Football Focus. He entered this game with 23 tackles.
Rapp showed briefly what he’s been known for. But then came the plays that unleashed his inner ball-hawk.
Rapp again does his damage near the L.O.S.
However, instead of coming downhill, he drops into zone coverage and picks up where tight end Evan Engram is going.
Rapp uses his eyes and undercuts Engram — putting himself in position for the first Jones interception of the game.
Jones and Rapp would have their eyes meet again and connect on the field.
Rapp, this time dropping into coverage from Jones’ left, jumped on Dante Pettis’ route and snatched pick No. 2 seen here.
To the league and opposing offenses, Rapp’s huge day comes as a surprise. However, his head coach has seen those kind of instincts on the field before from No. 24.
“I thought he did a great job,” McVay told the media. “He’s such an instinctual player. He’s got great short-space quickness. He’s got a nose for the football — whether if we’re sending him forward or whether if it’s some of those underneath zones. To be able to come away with those two interceptions was big. Got a game ball afterwards and I’m really happy for him.”
For Rapp, he may be the toast of Ram fan online praise. But he’s more glad that the preparation/execution aspect came into fruition at MetLife Stadium.
“It felt great. Anytime you can go out there, ball out with your brothers and let the preparation and execution follow, it means a lot,” Rapp said.