Lions quarterback Jared Goff was able to move his team along the field but also surrendered two interceptions on his first return to SoFi Stadium since being traded. Here is the breakdown of each position group and the resulting letter grade.
Matthew Stafford didn’t get on the field till midway through the first quarter but when he did, he proceeded to complete 28 of 41 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions. Stafford delivered pinpoint accurate balls all over the field against the Lions, hitting Cooper Kupp on the sail route up the sideline for a couple of chunk plays in key situations. His first touchdown of the day was to Van Jefferson from 11 yards out. Jefferson ran a go / fade route and Stafford put it in a excellent spot where even in tight coverage, Jefferson was in a great position to go up top and pluck the ball from over the head of the defender.
Darrell Henderson Jr ran 15 times for 45 yards and zero touchdowns. Sony Michel had two carries for four yards. Henderson also contributed three catches for 19 yards with one of those catches going for 13 yards. While the Rams did pull out the win, the difference in the game seemed to be the production from the Lions running backs who should grade out pretty nicely compared to the Rams running backs who were far less productive. Without being given a lot of room, the backs were also unable to shake loose on their own or capitalize on the space afforded.
Cooper Kupp had 10 catches for 156 yards and two touchdowns. This marks his fourth game with over 100 yards receiving and the sixth game with at least 90. Kupp and Stafford’s chemistry and timing seem to be constantly improving as some issues and misses that we’ve seen in previous games have were connected on point against the lions. Robert Woods had six receptions for 70 yards and Van Jefferson had four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Tyler Higbee made some key plays in this game while recording five catches for 46 yards. With Johnny Mundt injured and out for the season Kendall Blanton saw two snaps in the game and recorded no catches.
The offensive line was unable to produce much space for the run game as the backs combined for at total of 49 rushing yards. The pass protection was a high point as Stafford often worked from a decent pocket and only surrendered only one sack.
The defensive lined struggled to manage the front against the Lions run attack as they allowed 137 total rushing yards to D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Aaron Donald was causing disruption in the backfield as he and Sebastian Joseph-Day got a hit on the quarterback. Donald’s hit led to an interception by Jalen Ramsey and Joseph-Day recorded a sack.
For a team that ranks nowhere near the top of either rushing or passing yards and has zero wins, the Lions were awfully productive against the Rams defense producing 415 total yards and winning in the time of possession category. Much of this had to do with missed tackles and pass coverage lapses by Kenny Young and Troy Reeder. There were some key plays made however like Young making a key stop on a fourth down attempt, a hit on the quarterback, and a sack.
Jalen Ramsey is a star and made a huge impact in this game. He recorded six tackles, one tackle for a loss, one quarterback hit, and one interception. His interception came at a critical juncture late in the game to put the leverage back on the Rams side. Robert Rochell had a good start to the game but apparently left the game with an injury and was replace by David Long Jr who did not look like a sturdy replacement getting burned in coverage and missing tackles.
Unfortunately Taylor Rapp’s momentum from his two interception game in week six did not roll over to week seven as Goff and the Lions were able to produce more total yards and more yards per play than the Rams offense. The safeties Rapp and Jordan Fuller missed tackles and were late in coverage to make enough stops to help limit time of possession. However, Nick Scott is emerging as a potential contributor as he has now two interception over the last thee games.
Oh boy. Teams will give up a surprise first quarter onside kick, and teams will sometimes give up fake punts if it’s timed and executed properly, but not many teams at all are careless enough to surrender a second fake punt in the same game. What further detracts from the grade is without Sean McVay confirming for us in his presser which he did, the Rams had to know that the winless Lions were going to try fakes and tricks in order to find an edge in a game where straight football is a mismatch. Kicker Matt Gay was perfect with two extra points and two field goals.
Overall the Rams demonstrated the poise to keep a rocky ship rolling, handle a few surprises through adversity, and come away with a win. Now we have seen this team play down to a lesser team and play up to the task against teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. Next week will be another chance to prove that the Rams can stay sharp and play fast against a team that is still searching for wins and consistency in the Houston Texans.