The majority of the attention on Monday Night football turned to Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller, who both made their Los Angeles Rams debuts under the bright lights of a primetime slate.
But it was San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward who stole their thunder. Ward went on to have a career game Monday night, logging two tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.
On the Rams' opening drive, they waisted no time targeting Beckham. Matthew Stafford's first pass of the game went to Beckham along the sideline for a 5-yard gain. Three plays later, Rams coach Sean McVay dialed up a deep shot to Beckham in which Stafford uncorked a pass that traveled roughly 50 yards, but this play didn’t turn out how the Rams had hoped.
The pass was overthrown and into the hands of Ward, who picked off Stafford before some fans could even get to their seats. Following the interception, Beckham delivered a hit on Ward to prevent a retrun following the turnover.
Ward went on to celebrate his interception early in the first quarter, but says he won't forget the hit Beckham put on him.
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"I was just thinking about how Odell came and hit me," Ward said after the 49ers' 31-10 win. "I have to pay him back next time that I see him. I have been waiting a long time to hit him so hopefully I can catch him."
Ward had previously recorded just two interceptions over the course of his eight-year career. On Monday night, he tacked on two more in the first quarter, including one that he ran back for a pick-six that he returned 27 yards to put the 49ers up by two scores.
The Rams and 49ers will meet again in Week 18 at SoFi Stadium where Beckham and Ward will square off against each other for the second time this season.
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