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LA Rams At Detroit Lions: Report Card

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Grading the Rams’ Week 6 28-31 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Los Angeles Rams At Detroit Lions
Los Angeles Rams At Detroit Lionscq
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

QB

A grade

Case Keenum capped off one of the best statistical performances of his career with a game-ending interception. There’s something fitting to that with respect to Rams fans’ plight.

All things considered, Keenum was nearly perfect in the literal sense until the final possession.

Keenum marshaled a great output from the Rams’ offense to their second-highest point total of the 2016 season. The Rams only score 28 or more points twice last year and in 2014.

Here’s hoping he can break that run in 2016 with another big game.

RB

B minus grade

JTG had the best game of his 2016 season adjusted for usage...but it was his lowest usage of the season. Clearly, the gameplan was to use Gurley more as a decoy. Given the game we got from Keenum, the gameplan was a good one.

But what does it say about Gurley that the best version of the 2016 Rams’ offense we’ve seen is one that doesn’t heavily feature Gurley by design?

WR

B minus grade

Kenny Britt, y’all.

TE

B plus grade

Lance Kendricks’ TD catch bumps the grade up here big time. He finished with five receptions for 35 yards including that big touchdown. Aside from that, Kendricks was negligible in the passing game and rookie Tyler Higbee continued to be a blocking option/decoy only.

I’ll see if I can look around the league this week to validate, but I’d be shocked if the Rams aren’t around the bottom of the league in TE output offensively.

O-line

B plus grade

I thought yesterday was the line’s best game of 2016. You can’t get career days from Keenum and Britt with a solid performance from Gurley without a plus day on the line.

Were they part of the reason the play at the end of the first half failed? Have they performed to a degree that has earned Jeff Fisher’s faith playcalling-wise?

D-line

D plus grade

Yes, the injuries were an obvious factor here. And yes, Aaron Donald is a beast who warrants the kind of planning opponents are putting in to stopping him. But the Rams’ defense is predicated on the line dominating. They didn’t.

There’s no way for the Rams to run a top 10 defense without constant D-line success.

LB

D grade

Angles were bad. Tackling was bad. Coverage was bad.

We’ve yet to really find out what kind of NFL player Josh Forrest is going to be, but is LB outpacing the other positions as the top need for the Rams in the 2017 NFL Draft?

DB

D minus grade

No surprise that the Rams’ secondary had their worst game without Trumaine Johnson. Bigger issue that this position group isn’t stronger in Year 5 of Snisher. They’ve had every opportunity to make this a unit that is capable of holding things down for a week without their top man. Between losing Janoris Jenkins to free agency, signing Coty Sensabaugh and never getting applicable depth, this is less on the players and more on personnel decisions.

Only avoided an F because of run support, chiefly from LaMarcus Joyner.

ST

D minus grade

If the theme of this game was that the Rams wasted a great performance from the offense and mainly from Keenum and Britt, perhaps the theme of the season is that they’ve wasted perfection from K Greg Zuerlein and P Johnny Hekker.

Given how overwhelming the displeasure was for GZ’s 2015 season, for him to be perfect through six games in 2016 is...well, unexpected. He’s going to miss a FG attempt eventually, though.

That he, and Hekker who continues to perform at the highest possible expected level, have avoided being the scapegoat is both a credit to their performances and an indication of how disappointing the other units have been in not taking advantage.

Coaching

C grade

I know the feeling coming out of the game suggests this should be lower especially because of the failed play to go for it at the end of the first half, but I think that’s just the benefit of hindsight. The Lions were 2-2 on fourth down. The Rams were 0-1, but a very, very painful 0-1.

The bigger issues? Eight penalties. Detroit going 6-11 on third downs. A relatively successful running attack from the Lions despite a position depth chard racked with injuries and personnel changes.

The Rams were just unable to summon their best performances in the big moments. They weren’t capable of ascending beyond their own faults.

That’s kind of what coaching is, what getting the most out of your players is.

Detroit got the most out of their players when it mattered most yesterday. They also got the better of their opponent.