Saturday night is a night Nate Hobbs won't ever forget.
The rookie cornerback out of Illinois seemed to be all over the field in the Raiders' 17-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams — and his impact was definitely felt.
His biggest play came in the third quarter when Hobbs leapt up over receiver TuTu Atwell to grab an interception and shift momentum back to the Silver and Black. Hobbs said postgame that he saw it coming, climbed up and just tried his best to do what's asked of him on the field.
"Crazy. Something I'll never forget," Hobbs said. "I feel like I'm gaining the coaches' trust. And they trusted me to play multiple spots. I feel like when guys go down, they can throw me at corner to fill in. It's all about gaining their trust."
The defensive play led to a drive that ended in a field goal to tie the game and also led to the fifth-round draft pick being awarded a "well-deserved" game ball by Head Coach Jon Gruden.
"I'm really proud of him. I'm really excited to see what he does in his future," Gruden said postgame. "We tried to summarize him a couple days ago: He has the 'it factor.'
"He rarely makes the same mistake twice. He loves football, eats it up, and he's one of the energizers of our defense. He's walked in here and given us a lot of skills that we can utilize certainly."
Hobbs' teammate Tanner Muse echoed Gruden's statements on what the rookie brings to the Raiders.
"He's fast, physical and just a ballhawk," Muse said. "You see him just flying around, he's special for sure."
The 22-year-old's performance against the Rams followed up a standout one against the Seahawks last week where he delivered a punishing sack on quarterback Geno Smith for an 8-yard loss in the first quarter. Hobbs was close to adding another sack to his stats Saturday night, but didn't quite make it — a play he felt he should've made and will learn from going into the regular season.
"I feel like trying to be a pro at what I do," Hobbs said. "If I'm a professional, I can't keep making the same mistakes. At the end of the day, this is something they're trusting me to do and paying me to do. So I feel if I'm a pro I can't make the same mistakes. You're gonna make mistakes as a rookie. ... Don't let it be the same one."
Hobbs finished the night with four combined tackles, two passes defensed and of course, the interception. While it was a strong showing from a player new to the NFL, he stayed humble about his on-field success.
"I don't think I really surprised myself. I knew deep down inside, I knew I could compete at this level," Hobbs said. "It's just amazing to see the opportunity I've gotten because a lot of people don't get this opportunity so i just thank God every day for the opportunities. I just try to make the most of it."
"The way my mama raised me, I was raised to be humble."
View photos from the Raiders' preseason Week 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.