Jalen Ramsey isn’t holding anything over Tom Brady’s head.
As the All-Pro corner of the Los Angeles Rams prepares for his biggest test to date against Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Ramsey isn’t biting the bait — he knows his “undefeated” 2-0 record means nothing heading into Sunday’s showdown.
More importantly, he wants to make a major correction — he’s not actually undefeated against Brady. That would be due to the fact that Ramsey and his previous team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, lost to Brady’s New England Patriots during the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
“That’s false actually, because he for sure beat me in the AFC Championship game before, which was the most important one,” Ramsey said when asked about the 2-0 record, per Pro Football Talk.
“The two regular-season games, I’m not going to say they didn’t matter because I feel like every game matters personally, to me it does,” Ramsey continued. “I think this is my fourth time playing Tom. Like I said, he is Tom Brady. He is the greatest to play the game, so there is just a lot of respect there. He does a good job of leading his team, having his team ready to play. That’s one thing that I respect even more is just his team’s always ready. No matter who it is.”
In fact, the Jaguars didn’t just lose to the Patriots — they did so at home with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
In other words, Ramsey knows better than to add fuel to Brady’s fire. He makes sure not to add even more storylines to this big-time Week 3 matchup — a potential NFC Championship preview — by referring to Brady as the “greatest” to ever play the game.
Not a bad a strategic move when you’re matching up against a seven-time Super Bowl champion.
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Rams Defense Against Opposing Quarterbacks
While everyone is focusing on offense versus offense — it’ll be Matthew Stafford’s first big matchup against Brady as a member of the Rams — the defense may end up determining the outcome of this game.
It may only be two games through the season, but the small sample size indicates how disruptive the Rams defense can really be. When forcing pressure on quarterbacks, the defense has allowed a 24.8 passer rating (third-lowest in the league), according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com.
When not forcing pressure on the quarterback, the unit is allowing an 82.6 passer rating — the fifth-lowest mark in the league.
In media availability leading up to the game, Brady specifically outlined why the Rams do such a great job limiting the opposition’s passing game, via Scott Smith of the Bucs’ official website.
“It’s just a very challenging team because they do a good job disguising coverages, but they’ve got a great pass rush,” Brady noted. “You can’t really pick up on anything pre-snap because they’re holding disguises and, at the same time, they have a pass rush that gets home really quick. The corners do a great job of locking onto receivers and I think they do a good job of all having their eyes on the quarterback and reacting to where the quarterback is looking.
Brady Versus Ramsey & Donald
In contrast, Brady is having arguably the greatest stretch of his career. After ending the 2020 season on a hot streak, the 44-year-old quarterback has thrown for at least two touchdown passes in 13 consecutive games. That’s just one short of the record set by Brady himself and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
To counteract the Rams’ disruptive pass rush and lockdown cornerback play, Brady will likely have to get the ball out quick. Luckily for the Buccaneers, he doesn’t have too much of a problem with that.
Brady has been pressured on just 15.7 percent of his drop backs so far this season. It’s a drastic improvement over the 26.3 percent pressure rate he faced during the 2020 season — which may explain why Brady is on such a tear since the end of last season.
As much offensive firepower as these two teams possess, how much — or how little — both Donald and Ramsey impact Brady’s play may end up determining which team walks away undefeated entering Week 4.