GLENDALE, Ariz. — Alec Ogletree knew it, and the Arizona Cardinals saw it. Ogletree, the Rams’ middle linebacker and team captain, tried to play a defensive series with a full heart but only one arm.
“I wish I didn’t go back out there,” Ogletree said, “because I didn’t feel like I was any good to be out there. They definitely were running right at me and I couldn’t use my arm. I let my ego get in the way a little bit.”
Ogletree hyperextended his left elbow, he said, late in the first quarter of the Rams’ victory over Arizona. The injury happened when Ogletree combined with teammates to make a tackle and not, he wanted it known, a few minutes early, when he flipped into the endzone on an interception for a touchdown.
Ogletree, who didn’t return to the game after that ill-fated second-quarter series, said it’s “looking up” that he will be able to play next week against Philadelphia. Ogletree had a large pack of ice on the elbow and indicated that he would get examined further on Monday after the Rams returned home.
Assuming Ogletree can play against the Eagles, the Rams enjoyed a best-case scenario Sunday.
Ogletree made a game-changing play, when his 41-yard interception return gave the Rams a 16-0 lead in the first quarter. He apparently avoided a more serious injury and his backup, Bryce Hager, suffered some first-half struggles but played well in the second half as the Rams held the Cardinals to three points.
Ogletree also got a souvenir for his wife, who had called for him to get an interception return this season. She didn’t ask for the athletic 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker to flip into the endzone (and land on his right side, not the left elbow he injured). After the game, Ogletree was able to laugh about it all.
“My wife was like, ‘You need to get a pick-6,’ so I knew I was going to give her the ball,” Ogletree said. “As far as the celebration, I kind of overthought it and, at the last second, tried to do a flip.”
Ogletree got hurt on the Rams’ next defensive series, but finished that one and played the next one, even though Rams’ trainers were treating him on the field and he clearly appeared to be in pain. That’s when the Cardinals marched 67 yards — most of it on runs up the middle — for a touchdown.
After that, Ogletree gave way to Hager, who has appeared in all 44 games for the Rams since the start of the 2015 season, but mostly in a special-teams role. Hager finished with one…