5 surprise LA Rams players key to TNF win over Patriots
By Bret Stuter
Rams All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker has the ability to be a huge factor in the outcome of NFL games. At times this season, he has been exactly that. His week seven performance was one for the highlight reel.
So we know that he has it in him. So why is he called upon to have a season best game? This game could be a defensive matchup again. If it falls to that, then it becomes a matter of field position. If that happens, then Rams punter Johnny Hekker will make the difference.
Field position is like a 12th man
When Hekker is on, the results are phenomenal. Against the Chicago Bears, Johnny Hekker was on. Out of six punts, he kicked five inside the 20 yard line. That constant pressure upon the Bears offense really set the tone for what a difference Hekker can make. Against the Patriots, Hekker’s coffin-kick could very likely be the difference maker if the Rams offense struggles early.
Even if the Rams offense does get on track, Hekker is a true ally for the Rams defensive mindset. For each punt pinning the Patriots inside their 20 yard line, Aaron Donald and the defense has a chance to force some mistakes and perhaps get a safety. But most of all, Hekker is critical to ensure that the Patriots punt return team gets no opportunity for a big play.