NEW ORLEANS — Scott Shanle jogged towards the sideline believing Darren Sharper made another spectacular play by interception St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford the same way he did Mark Sanchez a year ago.
And then he looked up.
It was 27 darting down the sideline, not 42.
Jenkins’97-yard pick-six of Bradford changed the nature of New Orleans’ Sunday game against the Rams and the Saints went on to beat the Rams 31-13.
Instead of the Rams turning a turnover into a touchdown, Jenkins gave the Saints seven points and a 21-6 halftime lead.
“Whether it’s playing in the nickel, the back end at safety, he’s a guy that has good instincts,” Head Coach Sean Payton said. “That mental makeup, along with his skill set, serves him well. You find him around the ball and can play the ball. Made some significant plays today and has played well this season.”
With Jenkins’ help, the Saints held the Rams to 327 total yards kept Bradford to 18 of 32 passing for 231 yards, but with two interceptions and a passer rating of 53.0.
The second year defensive back finished the game with four tackles, two interceptions and three passes defensed.
It was his pick-six, however, that will stand out. The Saints (10-3) had just turned the ball over when Courtney Roby fumbled a kickoff return, giving the Rams (6-6) the ball at New Orleans 21. The Rams were in enviable position at second down with four yards to gain and that’s when Jenkins conned Bradford into the interception.
Nevertheless, he wouldn’t take any credit for his play, instead saying defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was responsible.
“He puts us in position to make plays and at the end of the day, it’s all about the mentality we have,” Jenkins said.
But according to Sharper, everyone is seeing Jenkins take the next step in his young career with the two interceptions, which gives him three for his career.
“That’s exactly the next step,” Sharper said, “whenever you’re in that position and you’re able to find the ball and also finish the play by making the big interceptions and then also scoring with it. There’s nothing else you want your safety to do. That’s a complete safety and he’s definitely that.”