The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Brandon Powell
If you have been following the Los Angeles Rams for the last few years, you are surely familiar with the plethora of inside jokes revolving around the special teams unit. The Rams seemed destined to screw up a punt return at least once a game, sometimes leading to detrimental momentum shifts in crucial moments. The 2021 season has been no different, and Rams fans held their breath every time the Rams lined up to receive a punt. That is until the man, the myth, the legend, Brandon Powell, joined the squad. Powell first appeared on the active roster back in week 13 when the Rams faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game opened with Powell returning a kickoff for over 60 yards, absolutely blowing every other 2021 kick return out of the water. At the time, a lot of Rams fans were not familiar with Powell, but he has already solidified himself as a fan favorite after 4 short weeks.
Before we dive into the perfection that was Powell’s week 16 performance (in which the Los Angeles Rams beat the Minnesota Vikings and secured both a playoff spot and the top-seat in the NFC West) let us take a brief look at Powell’s history in the NFL.
After his time playing football at Florida, Powell signed with the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent (with then QB Matthew Stafford at the helm). He spent the 2018 season with the Lions and recorded one monster game with 103 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Powell was waived by the Lions just before the 2019 season kicked off and was quickly claimed by the Atlanta Falcons. Powell had a quick stint with the Buffalo Bills after leaving the Falcons and ended up on the Miami Dolphins practice squad in September of 2021. Then came something that Rams fans are incredibly grateful for, Powell found his way to Los Angeles. The team signed Powell in November, and he has been taking advantage of his roster spot ever since.
During the week 16 matchup against the Vikings, Powell absolutely saved the momentum (and potentially the game) with a fantastic touchdown off a punt return. The Rams had a bit of a shaky start to the second half during their game in Minnesota and only had a 3-point lead when the Vikings punted the ball away. Powell received the punt, immediately turned on the jets, and navigated his way through traffic (while simultaneously pointing out necessary blocks to his teammates) ultimately somersaulting into the endzone, untouched. Powell absolutely gave the momentum and energy back to his team after the 61-yard return.
Fans, already elated with Powell, gained even more respect for the player during his post-game press conference. Powell’s positive attitude, humble nature, and love for the game radiated while he documented his journey and the big-time moments during the Rams and Vikings game.
He has now solidified himself as the Rams returner and can celebrate the fact that he helped the team punch their ticket to the playoffs.