After the LA Rams got a huge game from outside linebacker Justin Lawler, the outside linebacker stacking seemed to be taking shape. There was the top tier populated by the veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and Justin Hollins. The next tier appeared to be shaking out as Ogbonnia Okoronkwo who is showing flashes of speed, the hoped-for healthy play of Terrell Lewis, and then a surprising bid for a roster spot from OLB Justin Lawler who played very hard last week.
It appeared that it was all over but the shouting.
Well, the shouting arrived for the LA Rams, and he goes by the name of Chris Garrett. And he arrived like a flash thunderstorm. He was not just on the defense. In the first half, he was the defense. Well, a big part of that defense. Let’s sum it all up in a quick energized recap.
Of course, the fact of the matter is that it all kicked in after the LA Rams fell behind by a score of 7-0. Until that point, this was pretty much all Raiders. But it was a tipped pass on a first down and ten at the Raiders 38, a tip by Garrett, that ended up in the hands of J.R. Reed.
Suddenly the Rams offense was in business. A deep pass by Bryce Perkins to J.J. Koski, a run then reception by Xavier Jones set up the ball at first and goal. It only took one play, Perkins with a strike to tight end Kendall Blanton. Suddenly the score was all tied up. Garrett came through.
After the Raiders took possession, it was Chris Garrett again as he tackled Raiders RB Trey Ragas for a six-yard loss. The Raiders moved the chains on second down, but Garrett wasn’t done just yet. He met teammate defensive lineman Jonah Williams in the backfield and combined to sack quarterback Nathan Peterman on first down for a five-yard loss. On second and 15, Garrett tipped the pass, causing it to fall incomplete. On the next play, Peterman dropped back and Garrett was on him again for an eight-yard loss and a strip-sack. The Raiders recovered the fumble.
In the first half, Garrett showcased exactly what he showcased in college. He literally took over this one. No Aaron Donald on the field.
In one half, the LA Rams rookie outside linebacker Chris Garrett put up four tackles, two tipped passes, three quarterback hits, and 1.5 quarterback sacks. Preseason? Sure. But Garrett is only going to get a lot better. This is a nice showing by the rookie. Has he arrived? Perhaps not. But in this game, he proved he is NFL capable and ready.