John Johnson’s interception in overtime revs up Rams’ NFC championship victory

Rams safety John Johnson intercepts a pass by Drew Brees in overtime against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game at the Superdome.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

John Johnson couldn’t resist. After the Rams safety made a huge interception in overtime, he broke into a taunting dance.

He hopped on one foot, grabbed invisible handlebars in front of him and twisted the throttle. Marcus Peters joined him in the celebration.

“Choppa style,” Johnson said, referring to the New Orleans Saints anthem of that name. “That’s what they do down here.”


Rams safety John Johnson celebrates his interception against the New Orleans Saints in overtime in the NFC championship game.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Johnson, you see, has friends on the Philadelphia Eagles, and he felt the Saints were mocking their dog-mask theme of last season by donning ski masks after they beat the Eagles in the divisional round.

“As soon as I found out we’d be playing [the Saints], I said, ‘We’ve got to do it,’ ” he said. “I wanted to do that dance going into the locker room on a pick-six or something, but it came on that play.”

And what a huge play it was. On second and 16 from the New Orleans 34, Dante Fowler hit Drew Brees as he released a pass for Michael Thomas. The ball sailed high and Johnson ran backward to make the interception.

“It took forever,” Johnson said. “I was just hoping the receiver didn’t come to break it up. But it fell in my hands and I had to take advantage of it. I was actually backpedaling for it, so I felt like a center fielder.”

When he climbed to his feet, he felt like dancing.

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