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Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans: Pro Football Focus game notes explain how Rams clinched NFC West

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Here’s how PFF saw the Rams’ win over the Titans.

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Here are Pro Football Focus’ notes on the Los Angeles Rams’ 27-23 Week 16 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Give their Rams-specific account a follow on Twitter at @PFF_LARams.

Week 16 Rams Offensive Stats

Running back Todd Gurley was the highest graded running back through Sunday's games with his second highest grade of the year at 93.7. He earned a 99.9 receiving grade for his 10 catches on 12 targets for 158 yards. He actually ran for 185 yards after the catch on his way to three forced missed tackles and two touchdowns. Gurley extended his streak of 100 yards or more on the ground when given at least 20 carries to six games, while the Rams' record in such games moves to 6-0. Coming in to the 2017 season, Gurley had seen 71 targets in the passing game, catching 64 of those for 515 yards. In 2017, alone, Gurley has caught 64 passes on 76 targets for 788 yards (807 after the catch) and 18 forced missed tackles (the amount he had in his first two seasons combined). He is averaging the third highest yards gained per route run on 367 snaps in route this year at 2.15, while his passer rating when targeted ranks first among running backs with at least 400 snaps played at 119.4 (League average among running backs with minimum 400 snaps is 98.4).

For the first time since Week 10, left tackle Andrew Whitworth did not allow a single quarterback pressure. The edge defender he faced off with most of the time has the fourth most quarterback pressures generated from the right side of the line at 53, but his total will no increase this week. Whitworth finished the game with an overall grade of 75.9, after getting dinged for his holding penalty. Whitworth is currenlty tied for 13th in both pass blocking efficiency among tackles at 96.3 and for fewest quarterback pressures allowed at 23. Week 16 was the sixth game this season where Whitworth held the opposing defense to zero quarterback pressures in a game, the Rams are 6-0 in such games.

Rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp bounced back from his third down drop only to catch the game-winning touchdown pass against fill-in cornerback Brice McCain. He generated a perfect 158.3 wide receiver rating when targeted (passer rating when targeted) on his four catches and 65 yards gained. Kupp was able to bring his total forced missed tackles after the catch up to 14 on the season, putting him tied for third most among all wide receivers in 2017 and double the amount of the three rookie wide receivers closest to him. Among all receivers, Kupp has the sixth highest wide receiver rating in the entire league at 113.3 on 89 targets.

Quarterback Jared Goff went two for four on passes of 20 or more yards with one of those incompletions the result of a dropped pass. His 133.3 passer rating on such passes was second highest among the 13 quarterbacks who attempted at least four deep passes. Goff has now attempted 57 deep passes (20+yards) on the year and has completed 20 of those for 767 yards and four touchdowns. His 99.5 passer rating on those passes ranks seventh among the league's quarterbacks with at least 44 attempts, while his 42.1 adjusted completion percentage ranks eighth among qualifying quarterbacks. Goff finished the game with an overall 74.2 grade, 11th highest at the quarterback position through Sunday's games, while owning the highest passer rating when facing absolutely no pressure at 143.0.

Left guard Rodger Saffold finished Sunday's game as the 14th highest graded guard in Week 16 with his 80.8 game grade. He continued to open up big holes in both the run game and screen game, earning the Rams' highest run blocking grade at 82.8. Through 16 weeks Saffold owns the third highest run blocking grade among all guards at 88.2 and is the sixth highest graded guard at 84.8. The Rams have run Gurley to the left or right of Saffold 65 times this season, resulting in 397 yards and three of his rushing touchdowns.

​​Week 16 Rams Defensive Stats

Rookie safety John Johnson III was the Rams' highest graded defender in Week 16 with his 87.7. Of the 32 snaps he played in coverage, he was targeted three times while allowing two catches for 19 yards and breaking up the other target. He added three run stops on 18 run snaps lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage for the week's fifth highest run stop percentage among safeties in such alignment at 16.7. Since taking over as the starter opposite Lamarcus Joyner in Week 5, no safety has a higher run stop percentage while lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage than Johnson III's 10.1. With his Week 16 performance, Johnson III now ranks ninth among all safeties in overall grade on the season at 87.6.

Before Week 16, most of inside linebacker Cory Littleton's contribution came on special teams. In his first official start of the season, Littleton finished with an overall grade of 75.7, while generating three quarterback pressures and four defensive stops, two of which came in the run game. He also got in on the turnovers when he intercepted the first target he saw in the game against wide receiver Rishard Matthews. On the other four targets in his coverage Littleton allowed three to be caught for 30 yards. Over the last three weeks Littleton has the fifth highest pass-rush productivity while lined up as an inside linebacker at 22.7. His three quarterback pressures generated while aligned as an inside linebacker are tied for fourth most with teammate Alec Ogletree despite have 15 less pass-rushing snaps.

Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree had one of his best performances in the passing game in Week 16, finishing with the Rams' highest coverage grade at 82.5 while his overall grade of 85.0 ranked seventh among his position. He was targeted only twice on 31 coverage snaps, allowing one to be caught for four yards and breaking up the other target. His average of 0.13 yards allowed per coverage snap ranked second at the position while his average of 31 coverage snaps in between receptions allowed was tied for first with Luke Kuechly. Since giving up his last touchdown pass in Week 12 against the Saints, Ogletree ranks first in yards allowed per coverage snap at 0.21 (next closest is 0.54), coverage snaps per reception allowed at 29.3, and second in coverage snaps in between targets at 19.5 on 117 coverage snaps.

In his second start of the season, cornerback Troy Hill saw more targets than any other cornerback in Week 16 with 15. He allowed nine of those to be caught for 129 yards with one pass defended. He struggled against rookie wide receiver Corey Davis who caught five of his eight targets against Hill for 72 yards. Across his two starts this season, Hill is tied for first in targets with 19 on 85 coverage snaps. He has yet to allow a touchdown on the 10 receptions allowed and ranks 37th in passer rating allowed at 75.1 (among 72 cornerbacks), though his 1.56 yards allowed per coverage snap over the last two weeks ranks 12th highest. Despite his struggles in the passing game, Hill did produce three defensive stops to bring his two-week total to four, tied for seventh most among cornerbacks in that span.

With his four quarterback pressures in Sunday's game, interior defender Aaron Donald brings his season total up to 91 on the season. That is a new career high for him, up from his 82 a season ago, despite having 20 less pass-rushing snaps this year. 65 of those quarterback pressures are categorized are quarterback hurries and is 13 more than he generated in 2016. This was only his fifth game of the season where he generated four or less quarterback pressures after having eight such games a season ago. With 91 quarterback pressures, Donald has 25 more than the next closest interior defender and 12 more than the next closest edge defender. His pass-rushing productivity of 14.8 is also tops among his position and edge defenders. Donald now owns a pass-rush grade of 99.4 on the season, while only one other interior defender has a pass-rush grade above 90.0.