49ers Star Wants to Lay Out Odell Beckham Jr. in Rams Game: ‘Pay Him Back’

Jimmie Ward 49ers Rams

GETTY SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 15: San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward intercepts a pass from Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

The stakes are high for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but there’s also the added spice of rivalry.

Any NFC West rivalry game is intense, but Week 18’s matchup between the Niners and the Los Angeles Rams has the added weight of playoff implications. For San Francisco, a win ensures a Wild Card spot. For Los Angeles, a win locks up the NFC West division title.

The last time these two teams met was on November 15, when the 49ers rocked the Rams with a 31-10 win. San Francisco safety Jimmie Ward put on a show, picking off LA quarterback Matthew Stafford twice as the Niners defense wreaked havoc.

On Ward’s first interception, the safety didn’t have to do much work on a Stafford arm punt. However, when he went up for the ball, Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. came in with a big tackle as he made the play.

After the game, Ward was asked how he felt about the interception. Instead of really talking about the play, the 30-year-old dropped a message about his plans for Beckham Jr.

“I was just thinking about how Odell [Beckham Jr.] came and hit me,” Ward said. “How I’m [going to] have to pay him back the next time I see him. I’ve been waiting a long time to hit him so helpfully I can catch him.”

That message is clear. Now, 49ers fans will wait and see if Ward will get his opportunity on Sunday.

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Jimmie Ward Active for Sunday

There was some doubt that the safety would get his chance to pay Beckham Jr. back due to testing positive for COVID-19. However, the NFL’s latest protocols gave the safety enough time to recover and he was activated Saturday afternoon, per the team.

And it just isn’t Ward who’s coming back. Corners Dontae Johnson and K’Waun Williams were also part of the team’s rosters moves, which is a huge relief considering that Williams is the primary slot corner and Johnson has a chance to start Sunday.

But the biggest addition besides Ward is Emmanuel Moseley, who has missed about a month of play and practice due to an ankle sprain in early December.

On the current roster, Moseley is the best corner the 49ers have. It’s a toss up who starts opposite of him with Johnson, Josh Norman and Ambry Thomas all possibilities to face against the likes of Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp.

49ers Safety Also Called Out Matthew Stafford

Besides speaking on Odell, Ward has also taken the time to say that he wasn’t overly impressed with Stafford’s play.

Back in the summer, he was asked about the addition of the former Detroit Lion to the squad.

“I like Stafford, but they still will have the same players that he’ll be throwing the ball to,” Ward said per NBC Sports. “He’s the same quarterback who was on the Detroit Lions and they still didn’t go to the playoffs, and they had Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. What was the problem over there in Detroit? Are you going to blame the city? What was the problem? Was it the money? If they city didn’t have enough money to bring players over there, why even have an NFL team? That’s a big question mark.”

He kind of goes off the rails in that answer, but the point is the same from Ward: why didn’t Stafford and the Lions get the job done? That’s not for this article to decide, but it adds another degree of animosity to an already tense matchup.