If Round 1 of the DK Metcalf-Jalen Ramsey battle went to Ramsey mostly because his team won easily. Round 2 was an undeniable victory for the Los Angeles cornerback in every way.
In guarding Metcalf most of the time Sunday, Ramsey held Metcalf to two receptions on four targets for just 28 yards in the Rams’ 23-16 win.
A year ago in L.A., Metcalf was also usually defended by Ramsey but had six receptions for 71 yards, though the Rams won easily, 28-12.
Sunday, holding Metcalf down — especially early — played a big role in holding Seattle to its fewest points of the season and 11 below its league-leading average as Metcalf did not have a target until the final minute of the third quarter when he made a catch for nine yards. He had another grab for 19 yards late in the fourth quarter. He got behind Ramsey for a potential big gain in the fourth quarter with just over two minutes left. But typifying the kind of day it was, the pass went just off Metcalf’s hands.
According to NFL’s NextGen stats, Ramsey covered Metcalf on 30 of 42 routes, with all of Metcalf’s targets or receptions coming against Ramsey.
Metcalf had 43 receptions for 788 receiving yards and eight touchdowns through the first eight games and 92 or more in every game but one — when he was held to two receptions for 23 yards at Arizona when he was defended by Patrick Peterson.
Ramsey, a three-time Pro Bowler, had been coy during the week whether he would cover Metcalf. But it became clear early that was his main job.
“I think he’s an undeniable talent,’’ Ramsey told the NFL Network after the game. “I told him after the game that I look forward to these matchups for years and years to come. … But I didn’t want to just make it about us. I knew I was going to hold down what I had to hold down, but honestly, look at the other guys in the secondary. They held it down, as well.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said they weren’t trying to avoid Ramsey and said the team had “every intention’’ to get it to Metcalf, but that the ball just didn’t go that way.
Carroll said “we made a point at halftime’’ to try to get Metcalf more involved.
“He’s (Ramsey) a really good player and all, but we certainly didn’t have a game plan we were going to stay away from him,’’ Carroll said. “That wasn’t the case. We had all kinds of things we could have done, we just didn’t do it.’’
Quarterback Russell Wilson agreed, saying several plays called early were designs for Metcalf but was covered.
He noted a play on the first series that could have gone to Metcalf when he instead hit Freddie Swain for 21 yards.
“We had a few other plays that we tried to go to him but unfortunately either got pressured or something happened and that’s just the name of the game,’’ Wilson said. “But I’m always looking for him, you know, he’s such a great player.’’