MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Jalen Ramsey watched from the sidelines when the Miami Dolphins won at New England about a month ago. Ramsey told coach Mike McDaniel then that he would be on the field the next time the Dolphins faced the division rival Patriots.
As he worked his way back from a knee injury suffered during the first practice of training camp, Ramsey circled Sunday's game against the Patriots as a potential return date. He was originally estimated to be sidelined until at least December following a July surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
For the All-Pro cornerback, a return that late in the season was never an option.
“Before the surgery I said I was going to be back before December," Ramsey said. “December was never going to happen. That wasn’t even in nobody’s mind around me. We don’t work like that. We beat anything that people say.”
Ramsey returned after just three months of rehab, made his Dolphins debut in Sunday's 31-17 win over New England, and intercepted Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in the second quarter.
“He looked good,” Jones said. “I mean, he fell off on the one play and made a play. That’s what he does. He’s a good player. Obviously, his first game back and was very productive. You could tell that they called the defense that way.”
Down 14-7, the Patriots moved the ball to the Miami 23 when Ramsey intercepted Jones on a pass intended for receiver Kendrick Bourne and returned it 49 yards to the New England 40. Jones had not thrown in Ramsey's direction before the play.
The Dolphins turned the interception into a 30-yard field goal by Jason Sanders that put them ahead 17-7 at halftime.
“Well, he totally disappointed me,” McDaniel said jokingly. “He called that he was going to come back and have a pick-6, not a pick field goal. He did phenomenal. You want to talk about something that goes above and beyond, like you can’t manufacture what he brought to our team in any other way.”
Ramsey was activated from injured reserve Saturday and said he'd worked hard last week to feel like himself.
Describing the injury, Ramsey said he was playing one-on-one against receiver Tyreek Hill in training camp when his knee “popped" and felt like it gave out. He added that he’s felt a range of emotions in the past three months but was grateful to be back on the field and contribute to a win.
Ramsey played a significant number of defensive snaps Sunday — something he said wasn't supposed to happen.
“I just felt like how the flow of the game was going, I needed to stay in there and try to finish it off for my teammates,” Ramsey said. “You know, I’ve got to get better, got to play a little bit better in the second half, correct a couple little things, and get my endurance and my strength a little bit better so I can feel really good in that second half, as well, kind of like my normal self. But yeah, it wasn’t the plan to play that long.”
Ramsey also made a hard open-field tackle on running back Ezekiel Elliott that jarred the ball loose before it rolled out of bounds.
Miami acquired Ramsey in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Rams. He had 88 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks for the Rams last season.
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