With a season-high seven tackles in the heart-breaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Nickell Robey-Coleman was one of the stars on the Rams defense. He also defended three passes to round off an impressive personal display.
One of three players to join the Rams from Buffalo during the off-season, Robey-Coleman has performed better than expected. He hasn’t received the same level of attention as former, and still current, teammates Sammy Watkins or Robert Woods. This has helped him slip quietly under the radar as part of the Rams defensive team. His form for the Bills showed signs of promise, but at five-foot eight inches tall, many felt he was too small to be an effective cornerback. The top wide receivers were able to take advantage of this weakness.
He has shown signs of potential throughout the season, but it’s unlikely that many would class him as “elite”.
Lining up opposite former USC teammate Nelson Agholor gave him a huge challenge and spurred him on. On third-and-five, during the Eagles’ opening drive, Robey-Coleman tipped the ball from Agholor into the hands of Kayvon Webster. This was the first of three passes intended for Agholor that he defended.
When an injury forced fellow cornerback Webster to leave the game, the Eagles began to target Robey-Coleman more and more. The Eagles threw his direction a total of 10 times throughout the game. During the Eagles period of domination, Robey-Coleman and most of the defense struggled to provide effective coverage. During the game, he allowed seven receptions for 81 yards.
The second half saw a better defensive display. Robey-Coleman made important tackles and broke up two more attempted passes. The most impressive tackle came in the fourth quarter. With the Rams leading 35-34, he broke free and raced away to make a third down stop on Agholor. This stopped a possible touchdown for the Eagles and kept the Rams in the game.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Eagles scored the resulting field goal. This gave them a three-point lead that they would not lose.
Despite some missed opportunities, Robey-Coleman had his best performances for the Rams.
As the regular season draws to a close, injuries will mount up for all teams. Webster is on Injured Reserve and Robey-Coleman will need to continue to play at a high level in the slot. In the previous game against the Seahawks, he recorded six tackles in an impressive defensive showing. A similar defensive performance on Sunday should see the Rams leaving Seattle with the win.
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