“Stonewalled”. In the NFL, it’s a term normally associated with an offensive lineman who has been able to essentially shut down an opposing defender (usually a defensive end) with an outstanding performance.
That would accurately describe the phenomenal effort of Saints All-Pro offensive guard Ryan Ramczyk in the Black and Gold’s thrilling come-from-behind 30-28 win the other night against Houston Texans All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt; who Ramcyzk managed to limit to ZERO tackles or QB “hits” for the very first time in 105 career games.
In tonight’s loss to the Saints, J.J. Watt failed to record at least 1 tackle or 1 QB hit for the first time in 105 career games.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 10, 2019
But now with the Texans in the rear-view mirror, Ramcyzk and the Saints offensive line now must very quickly turn their collective attention towards their next opponent, the hated-but-always-dangerous Los Angeles Rams; who New Orleans faces this Sunday afternoon out in Southern California.
The Saints 3rd year offensive right tackle told USA TODAY beat writer Luke Johnson that he studied Watt on film and tried to pick up on any little tips possible which he could utilize to neutralize Watt, the former two-time NFL Defensive MVP.
“He tested me, and I think I did a pretty good job against him. I was happy with my performance tonight.”
As noted by Johnson, Watt did not record a single statistic in the box score against the Saints. According to the NFL’s official media research department, it was the first time Watt failed to register at least one tackle or quarterback hit in an NFL game. EVER.
Ramcyzk did say that the Saints O-Line’s game plan the other night against Houston featured some schematic things to take some of the pressure off himself, such as some methods like “chip blocks” and double teams from teammates, most notably by fellow O-Lineman and starting left tackle Terron Armstead.
“(It was) a great team effort,” Ramczyk said.
Later in the winning team locker room, Armstead told Johnson and other reporters that he never had a doubt that Ramcyzk was up to the task.
“Ryan’s great,” Armstead said. “He’s the best right tackle in football. He’s been putting the work in since he got here, and it’s paying dividends. It’s not by accident.”
Ramczyk had never faced Watt before Monday Night’s win over the Texans this week, so all he could go on was the film that’s been available on Watt throughout his career. So Ramczyk mostly had known exactly what he should expect.
“But you don’t really know what’s coming until you get out on the field and go against him,” Ramczyk said. “He’s a strong, powerful athlete, a great player, so it was good to go up against him”.
However, now Ramczyk and company don;t have time to celebrate much, since they now have to face the one opponent that’s most notably been a “thorn in the side” of the Black and Gold and has prevented them (with a well-documented assist from NFL referees in last January’s controversial overtime loss in the NFC Championship Game) from winning the Super Bowl: those hated and despised Rams, this Sunday afternoon out in Los Angeles.
The offensive line will have their hands full with the Rams vaunted defensive line, led by the current reigning 2018 NFL Defensive MVP, Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald; who might be THE best defensive player in the entire League, along with the rest of a powerful Los Angeles Front 7.
It will be a critical match-up specifically for Ramcyzk, who in last season’s games (November and again in January) mostly faced off one-on-one against Rams defensive end (and former LSU star) Michael Brockers.
The Saints need Ramcyzk and the O-Line to come up big-time, especially since they will be an underdog in a hostile road environment and if they hope to establish any semblance of a running game and attempt to maintain a balanced offensive attack, they will have to be ready to step up to the challenge; specifically if they want to keep a secure passing pocket for 19th year veteran QB Drew Brees.
But clearly after Monday Night’s “shutout” of JJ Watt, it would seem that the 25-year old Saints starting right tackle will be more than ready for Sunday’s long-anticipated rematch; and a rematch that an overwhelming majority of passionate Who Dat fans have been waiting for to be played, for the past several months.
Make no mistake about this much: Ramcyzk is ready for anything that comes his way this Sunday, and if he can come up with another phenomenal performance, it’s hoped that he and the Saints O-Line can “stonewall” that talented Rams D-Line — and finally put the events of last January and that loss in the NFC Championship Game — firmly in their proverbial rear-view mirror for good….