The Los Angeles Rams saw their 21-point lead over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 get cut down to six points late in the fourth quarter, with one of Atlanta’s touchdowns coming in the form of a blocked punt. To avoid having another blocked punt, the Rams took an intentional safety on their final drive, and Sean McVay credits John Wolford for suggesting the idea.
“It is a play that we practice on special teams. We actually did it on Saturday morning in our special teams walkthrough. It’s never come up ever in my coaching career, and I would be interested to see the last time that it actually came up in an NFL game. I bet it’s been a long time, but it was yesterday and QB John Wolford deserves a whole lot of credit for him being able to kind of suggest it,” McVay said. “I’m thinking, ‘Man, that is exactly the right scenario,’ because we didn’t run off enough time where maybe you could say like, ‘All right, you can run one of those plays where you kind of just sprint the quarterback out, throw it away and hopefully the clock expires.’ Because we were up by six points you’re saying, ‘Let’s go ahead and not risk getting another punt block. Let’s try to run off seven, eight seconds with 0:13 left. Then you give a chance to have to get that punt after the safety and maybe they get one shot.’ But we felt like the percentages would tilt in our favor. You’ve got to give John Wolford credit for putting that thought in my mind and then our guys did a good job of being able to execute that.”
It appeared that the Rams would secure an easy double-digit victory against the Falcons. However, Los Angeles made a few mistakes on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams to let Atlanta creep back into the game in the fourth quarter.
On the final offensive drive of the game, the Rams held a 31-25 lead with 1 minute and 7 seconds remaining in the game. Los Angeles handed the ball off three times, gaining only 3 yards while leaving 13 seconds on the clock.
Instead of punting it and risking a blocked punt or a return touchdown, the Rams had Brandon Powell line up as the punter. Powell took the snap and run back to the end zone to waste more time before stepping out of bounds in the end zone with six seconds left.
Even though it gave the Falcons two more points on the scoreboard, it gave them no time to orchestrate a final drive. And while everyone was crediting McVay for making the wise decision to take the intentional safety, he wants everyone to know it was Wolford’s idea.