I won’t pretend that I was fond of the performance of defensive back Taylor Rapp in Weeks1-5. I didn’t like it in the least. He seemed to struggle in pass defense, oftentimes completely out of positions. I don’t think I was alone in what I was seeing from the third-year player. He seemed undisciplined, out of position, and lacking the type of communication that is mandatory to provide solid defense. His 2021 performance grade by Pro Football Focus was 53.7 before this game. That should improve after Week 6.
It wasn’t that he was failing to make plays. Any player can struggle. It just seemed as though the LA Rams‘ third-year defensive back, in his first season of primary starter, was unable to improve. At least, not until the coaching staff mentioned the possibility of giving some playing time to defensive back Terrell Burgess. Was that the cause of what happened next? If it was not, it was an awfully funny coincidence.
Rapp appeared to be in every throwing lane possible for New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. He missed two interceptions before getting his first pick, a pass intended for Giants tight end, Evan Engram. He returned the football three yards, to the Giants’ 14-yard line. Four plays later, the Rams had scored their third touchdown of the day, jumping out to a 21-3 lead.
In the second half, the Giants were trying to mount a drive after the Rams had pulled ahead by a score of 31-3. The Giants went for it on a fourth down and seven yards to go, this time Jones throwing a pass to wide receiver Dante Pettis. Once more, Rapp jumped the route for his second interception of the game. He returned the football 18 yards to the New York Giants 49 yard line.
This time, the Rams needed just nine plays to put a touchdown on the scoreboard.
The Rams defense created four turnovers, three of which led directly to touchdowns. Based on Taylor Rapp’s performance, the Rams could have come up with two more turnovers in this one. It was a huge win for the Rams team that needed some spark on defense.
Taylor Rapp had seemed to struggle in the first five games. But in this one? He put up the best game of his career. Two interceptions, five tackles, one quarterback hit, and three passes defended. He stood up in this one and played fundamentally solid football. Some argued that this game was a trap game for the Rams. Instead, it was a TRapp game for the NY Giants.
And just like that, the team is heading home at 5-1 and looking ahead to facing the winless Detroit Lions at home. Better than getting their fifth win of the season in six games. The Rams appear to have gotten the best of Taylor Rapp back.