PITTSBURGH – Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s incredible talent is obvious — so is his heart and compassion.
Ramsey, a former Florida State standout, wore specially designed cleats to honor the 58 victims of the Las Vegas shooting in Sunday’s 30-9 win against Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The cleats featured the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
Ramsey turned in an inspired performance, intercepting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and returning the pick 15 yards. He also was credited with seven tackles and four pass breakups.
“I felt like I had some angels with me out there,” Ramsey said. “This is one of the only ways I know how to play homage by what I wear on the field with my platform out there. I wanted to pay respect to them. I’m going to auction these off and the proceeds will go to the victim’s fund for their families and those affected by this tragedy.”
Ramsey got the Jaguars’ defense going. The Jaguars picked off Roethlisberger five times, sending him to the worst outing of his storied career. Safety Tashaun Gipson had two interceptions, and linebacker Telvin Smith, another former FSU standout, and safety Barry Church had pick-sixes.
Church’s 51-yard return was set up by Ramsey. He deflected the pass while covering Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown and Church snagged it.
“Ramsey did a heck of a job on ‘AB’ and tipped it up,” said Church, who grew up in Pittsburgh. “I was able to grab it, and no one was going to stop me from getting into the end zone.”
The Jaguars (3-2) lead the AFC South thanks to a defense that has forced an NFL-best 15 turnovers, including 10 picks. The Jaguars also lead the league in turnover margin at plus-10.
Last season, the 3-13 Jaguars forced 13 turnovers, with seven interceptions.
“It’s special,” Ramsey said. “It’s something we struggled with last year. … Now, we’re getting them. We’re putting things together, bonding and building something special.”
Ramsey is becoming the best cornerback in the NFL. He is tied for fourth in interceptions with two and is tied for second in pass breakups with nine. That’s stunning production considering Ramsey, who was the fourth overall pick in 2016, hasn’t been tested much in some games.
“I think the league has started to be on notice a little bit anyway, and as a team and a defense we are going to continue to do our part,” Ramsey said. “We want to be a team that’s a force to be reckoned with.”
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.