For most teams and most QBs, a final line of 17/35, 130 yards and two interceptions would be an automatic F.
It’s not for Fisherball. This offense is so condensed you have to consider what is actually capable for QBs. Remember, this is the same Case Keenum that finished the 2015 season that had so many Rams fans actually excited at his prospects. This is the same offense Rams fans were ok with when we finished the season on a 3-1 run with Keenum at the helm. 17/35, 130 yards, a TD and no interceptions would be an A grade. The turnovers are the only real key here. Don’t be surprised if when the Rams win a game and the Keenum output in yards and completion percentage is the same the grade changes entirely.
That’s the QB position in Fisherball.
WR Kenny Britt continued to show he’s a functional component of the passing game with his four receptions across the middle of the field.
The problem was everything else.
Tavon Austin, who recently signed a massive contract extension, racked up 13 yards on four receptions coming on 12 targets.
Brian Quick, who is primed for a breakout season since this is a football season, had three catches for 23 yards.
Lance Kendricks and Tyler Higbee combined for three receptions and 17 yards.
Just Todd Gurley had nothing to work with. Case Keenum was sacked twice and endured five QB hits.
This was against the San Francisco 49ers front. The prospect of future opponents and dealing with their fronts is...not exciting.
The only way the Rams are going to win games this season is if the defense excels. The only way the defense is going to excel is if the defensive line can dominate their battle.
Last night, the Rams had no sacks, had 1 QB hit and were consistently washed out trying to pin down RB Carlos Hyde.
The problem here was two-fold.
One, the line played poorly, especially against the run. That makes things very difficult for the linebackers.
Two, when we say “the linebackers”, we’re essentially saying Alec Ogletree. Okay, maybe Ogletree and a sprinkling of Mark Barron. But part of the Rams’ issue last night was that they don’t have a 4-3 look they can go to. I can’t grade a linebacker that doesn’t exist.
The Rams’ defense revolves around pass pressure. The Cushion of Death is a function of forcing QBs to face the prospect of having to wait for routes to develop while anticipating Robert Quinn or Aaron Donald or the cumulative pass rush. When that doesn’t materialize, it’s nearly impossible for the cornerbacks to play the shorter, quicker routes that are supposed to offset the pressure.
So this is a bit like the Gurley grade. You have to have holes for a running back to operate. The Rams have to have pass pressure for the secondary to operate.
As for the safeties, they didn’t give up any home runs. They cleaned up the running game when Hyde got past the first level. They didn’t factor in any major way, but that was a function more of the Niners’ offense than the Rams’ defense.
Johnny Hekker had 10 punts. Greg Zuerlein didn’t miss a single kick. Awesome.