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When a team’s back is against the wall and things aren’t going their way, then someone needs to step up. In the 1999 NFC Division Championship, the St. Louis Rams were battling a tough Tampa Bay Defense. Kurt Warner threw three interceptions and the Rams offense appeared a shell of itself. However, when the Rams’ were cornered in unusual territory, a player stepped up to carry the Rams to the Super Bowl–Ricky Proehl.

In the 1999 season, Ricky Proehl had 31 receptions for 349 yards and no touchdowns. Regardless, he stepped up when he was needed and carried his team to the next level. Below is a list of candidates to have the next Ricky Proehl game-changing play on Sunday.

Wild Card: Troy Reeder 

Surprise, surprise. . . a defensive player can make a game-changing play. With the more aggressive style of defense by Raheem Morris, Reeder can be a game-changing force. Last week, Kyler Murray threw an interception in his own endzone because Reeder brought unexpected pressure. When Reeder is put in a position to not think, and to just play, then he excels. If the Rams are aggressive then don’t be surprised when Reeder makes a game-changing play on defense. 

Brandon Powell 

Brandon Powell has come in as a punt returner journeyman and has shown impressive speed and decision-making ability as a punt return man. It seems whenever Powell gets a punt that he is a threat to take it the distance. Since joining the Rams, Powell has given the Rams’ special teams an edge that they have been lacking since Tavon Austin dawned the horns.

Moreover, Powell has played with Stafford in the past, so he can also line up on a few offensive plays. Whether it be on special teams or offense, Powell has the ability to be a clutch player for the Rams. Stories like Powell’s are my favorite, and Rams Nations is excited to see his continued growth with the Rams. 

Cam Akers 

Cam Akers looks as good as he has ever looked. Last week, his numbers were not numerically eye-popping, but with context, they are. The Arizona Cardinals are a tough defensive team, and Akers was back in his second game from a torn Achilles he sustained in July. Considering the short time frame from his recovery and his opponent, Akers’ performance was eye-popping. Akers was slicing and dicing the Cardinals–he ran with conviction and with fresh legs compared to the defense.

Akers is the type of player that can be a serious threat on any offensive play. Don’t be surprised to see Akers rip a third and short or fourth and short, and take it the distance—rumbling and tumbling to the end zone. 

Odell Beckham Jr. 

Odell Beckham’s father was right, and I’m glad he was because the Rams’ offense is more potent with Beckham. Beckham is in sync with the Rams’ system and Matthew Stafford. His presence gives the Rams energy. Nevertheless, Beckham has the ability to make the next Ricky Proehl type of play for two reasons.

First, Cooper Kupp commands a lot of defensive attention, which allows Beckham to take advantage of the coverage that he is given. So far with the Rams, Beckham has six touchdowns in seven games. With perspective, he was only able to accumulate seven touchdowns in two and a half years with the Browns.

Second, Beckham has the “it” factor which Rams fans saw against the Baltimore Ravens with his fourth-down catch and his subsequent game-winning touchdown. Beckham has a very likely opportunity to have a Ricky Proehl moment this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Alexis Santana

Author Alexis Santana

Alexis Cesar Santana is a recent law school graduate and is waiting for his July 2021 California Bar Results. Alexis was a proud member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society at California Western School of Law. The NFL as a business motivated Alexis to pursue a law degree to one day work with athletes. Also, Alexis will bring a creative analytical approach to LAFB. Lastly, Alexis is a third-generation Rams fan. Fun fact: Alexis’ grandpa was invited to try out for the Los Angeles Rams back in the day.

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