In three consecutive days, the Los Angeles Rams placed at least one starter on the COVID-19 list for a positive test. First it was Darrell Henderson Jr. on Saturday, then Rob Havenstein and Dont’e Deayon on Sunday. And just hours before kicking off against the Cardinals, the Rams placed Jalen Ramsey and Tyler Higbee on the list, as well.
The loss of Ramsey and Higbee was especially difficult to swallow because of how close to game time it was. The Rams had very little time to adjust, and it’s not as if those players are backups. They’re critical parts of the offense and defense.
So when Sean McVay learned that the Rams wouldn’t have either player, he had the same reaction as every fan in Los Angeles.
“My initial reaction was…You’ve got to be shitting me.”
– Sean McVay, on the news this morning that Ramsey and Higbee tested positive.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 14, 2021
The Rams aren’t out of the woods yet for Week 15 because players can remain on the COVID-19 list if they continue to test positive. And McVay doesn’t sound thrilled with how all of this happened, expressing concern moving forward.
“To say that I’m not concerned wouldn’t be accurate,” he said. “I think you want to find out a little bit more because to my understanding, just looking at the landscape of the league, this was as bad as the outbreak has gotten. And the hard thing is for some of these guys – and I don’t want to get into the specifics just out of respect for the individuals – but for some of them, there’s no symptoms. They feel great and that’s what’s unfortunate. And you get some of these where there’s false positives and so there’s a lot of mental gymnastics that are going on, but all we can do is try to take safe precautionary measures.”
Yeah, it was pretty hard to believe that even after losing three starters – plus Brian Allen to a knee injury – the Rams would go on to lose two more the day of the game. But they overcame the absences of those key players and secured a 30-23 victory on the road over the team with the best record in football.
It was a signature win not only for this season, but one of the best of the McVay era.