Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notebook: McDonald's Big Game Falls Short of NFC Recognition

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Notebook: McDonald's Big Game Falls Short of NFC Recognition

Article excerpt

Rams coach Jeff Fisher is not sure what more T.J. McDonald can do.

Despite blocking a punt and a field goal in the Rams' 19-17 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa on Sunday, McDonald was beaten out by Arizona's Ted Ginn Jr. for NFC special teams player of the week.

"They were huge plays," the coach said. "In a two-point game, to block a field goal and a punt and be the same person who did it. I would think you would get a little bit of consideration for (the award). Apparently, those people that voted must have thought we had a bye week last week or something. I don't know what's going on.

"Again, Ted Ginn's a really good player and I have nothing against Ted, but I thought maybe (T.J.) would've got some consideration."

McDonald, a second-year safety from USC, did a little of everything Sunday. In addition to finishing as team co-leader in tackles (nine) and adding a quarterback pressure, he blocked a punt that led to a field goal that helped the Rams take a 10-7 lead to the half and later blocked a field goal on the opening play of the fourth quarter.

Then, on the game's final play, he delivered a big hit on Bucs rookie Mike Evans that forced a 10-second runoff to secure the Rams' first win of 2014.

Ginn returned a punt 71 yards early in the final quarter to help the Cardinals overtake the Giants and win 25-14 Sunday. Ginn has won the award three times with three different teams.

"It's not frustrating to me at all because we got the win and that's all the matters," McDonald said after helping the Rams block a punt and field goal in the same game for the first time since 1979. "I went out there and made plays and helped our team win."

McDonald's blocks came on similar-looking plays. From the left side, he cut inside the last Tampa Bay blocker to make the plays with a little help from defensive end William Hayes.

"It's something we work on in practice. It's just a matter of getting an opportunity and taking advantage," McDonald said. "On the first one, I got there easier than I expected, so I told Will that if you can grab that guy's arm, I'd be able to get in there again.

"He grabbed it and I was able to get through the gap."

McDonald, 23, sees special teams as a continuation of his defensive responsibilities. …

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