South Carolina football fans had the choice of watching a bowl game between Syracuse (featuring former Gamecock Braden Davis at quarterback) and South Florida or watching the NFL's Los Angeles Rams host the New Orleans Saints.
Considering the fact that USF ended up skunking 'Cuse 45-0 (yeah, it was that bad), the better choice of game was clear.
The Rams jumped out to a big lead over the Saints, but New Orleans mounted a nice comeback that ultimately fell just short.
The main takeaway from the game for Gamecock fans was that one of their own was the game's best player on defense. While the Rams got really nice performances from quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Puka Nacua, linebacker Ernest Jones was the man for the LA defense.
In the game, Jones tallied 7 tackles, but they were all huge. He picked up a sack of Saints quarterback Derek Carr but spent most of the game terrorizing him, adding two more hurries (one leading to a bad throw and interception), a quarterback hit, and two passes defended. #53 also picked up two more tackles for loss in the game and was responsible for ending four Saints drives (3rd down sack, 3rd down tackle, hurry leading to interception, and 3rd down pass break up).
For his efforts, the South Carolina football alum was awarded a game ball from Rams coach Sean McVay.
Jones is in the top-10 in the NFL in total tackles (132), and his 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss on the year are more than any other player ranked in the top-20 of tackles. He is 3rd in the game in tackles for loss for non-DL/EDGE players and also ranks in the top-10 in passes broken up by linebackers. He did all of that despite missing a game with an injury and playing several others banged up.
With those numbers and his Rams fighting for an NFC Playoff berth, Ernest Jones could be in line to make his first Pro Bowl after the season.