On Sunday, he emerged with two fumble recoveries during a Rams’ scoring drive that helped them beat their NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, 23-17 at CenturyLink Field.
“What can you say about Tim Barnes?” Rams coach Jeff Fisher asked reporters afterward. “That’s great effort, great effort. You never want to see the balls on the ground but we got some bounces and Tim made two big plays.”
Not bad for a guy who almost didn’t re-sign with the Rams (7-8) last offseason, when they opted not to tender him as a restricted free agent and risked losing him.
It wasn’t until it sounded like the Missouri native and University of Missouri product may sign with the cross-state rival Kansas City Chiefs that the Rams agreed on a new one-year deal with the center. And it wasn’t until the end of training camp that Barnes’ status on the roster, as the team’s starter, was secured.
But there he was Sunday making not one but two big plays on a drive that concluded with a Todd Gurley touchdown run with 10:34 remaining. Had the Rams not scored there, they might have ended up losing to the Seahawks for the 11th straight game in Seattle.
“You’ve got to follow the ball,” Barnes told reporters. “That’s what we try to do on every play. That’s what we do as an O-line. We try and chase the ball, keep guys from hitting our guys downfield. That’s something we want to do. That’s something we preach; that’s what coaches preach to us. If you’re around the pile at the end, good stuff will happen. And today, it just fell in our favor.”
Barnes said it was the first time he’s had two touches in a game since early in his high school career.
“Not since I was in high school and I had to do emergency running back,” he said. “That was a long time ago. We had run out of guys. Let’s see, that year I was a freshman so I was probably only 20 pounds lighter and the same height. I was a big kid in high school.”
It should also be noted that Barnes, and the rest of the offensive line, did a good job handling the Seahawks’ strong defensive front.
Barnes in particular had a tough matchup against defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. He did a good job moving Mebane on the Gurley touchdown run.
“He’s pretty big,” Barnes said. “I’ve played him a few times now, and you always know what you’re in for whenever you’re going to play him. You can watch film on him, but even then until you get out and play him it’s still different. He’s big and he’s quick, and he’s a good player.”
Barnes is also proving in his first year as a full-time starter that he’s not too bad, either.