The Los Angeles Rams got back on track on Sunday with a 37-7 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium. The Rams put on an aerial display with three different receivers adding touchdowns for a dominating victory. Defensively for LA, little options were open to Jaguars coach Urban Meyer as Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey led their units to a solid performance.
Here are the breakdowns by position and the resulting letter grade.
Matthew Stafford had a clean game with no turnovers. That is the most critical improvement over the last three games in which he gave up at least one game altering interception in each. Stafford had 26 completions on 38 attempts for 295 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Seven receivers caught balls during the well balance attack that included four receivers, two tight ends, and the running back.
When the margin of error is smaller, Stafford will still look to tighten some of the throws that either fall incomplete or are a degree off, killing the run after catch. However, Stafford did throw a number of perfect passes, one of which was a fade for an Odell Beckham Jr touchdown and another was a blitz response throw over the middle to Cooper Kupp than nailed him directly on the upfield shoulder and Kupp capitalized by running through the catch for a touchdown.
Sony Michel was the lead running back with 24 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. Designated as questionable pre game, Darrell Henderson Jr was sidelined as Michel took 24 of 26 rushing attempts. Michel produced the Rams first 100 yard rusher for this season while taking advantage of good blocking and a defense set on their heels due to the passing attack. Michel showed good burst and timing to get through the line of scrimmage.
All three starting receivers caught touchdown passes. Kupp continues his historic season catching his 100th ball this season being only the their Ram accomplish that mark since Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Kupp touchdown was this eleventh of the season which is also a career high and makes him the first receiver in league history to reach 100 catches and at least 10 touchdowns in the first 12 games. OBJ caught his second touchdown as a Ram and Van Jefferson had a good game with six receptions for 41 yards and touchdown as a secondary read on a deep back end zone crossing route.
Tyler Higbee caught five passes for 48 yards with a long of 22 yards. Higbee and Kendall Blanton contributed blocks to the running game that produced over 100 yards. To complete this offensive attack, it would be great to see the tight ends getting in for scores as red zone threats but when their number was called Kendall Blanton dropped one in end zone. Nonetheless, for what Higbee was called on to produce in this game plan, his performance was sound.
The offensive line had a good game but did so while dealing with injuries and substitutions early in the game. Joe Noteboom and Coleman Shelton were called on to fill in for Brian Allen and David Edwards. The big boys up front provided the push to create a 100 yard rushing game for Michel and kept the pocket clean for Stafford to get off 295 yards passing while only taking one sack.
Aaron Donald had five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. The forced fumble came on the first drive of the game and immediately turned the game in favor of the Rams. In the third quarter A’Shawn Robinson also contributed a forced fumble to get the defense off the field. The defensive line holding the Jaguars to less than 70 yards total rushing yards and adding pressure to the pass game allowed LA to maintain that immediate momentum throughout the game. Greg Gaines had a solid showing with four tackles and a nice contribution to the pass rush.
Leonard Floyd and Earnest Jones led the way for the linebackers as both players got to the quarterback for assisted sacks. Pressure was constant on the Jaguars Trevor Lawrence, meanwhile Jones did a good job adding to the run defense and being reliable in coverage with nine total tackles and one pass deflection.
Jalen Ramsey led his group to a sound performance against his former team allowing only 16 completions to the Jags Lawrence for less than 150 yards total. While that is the expected result with the leagues best corner line up opposite a rookie quarterback, it was great to see the group as a whole closing the windows on the Jags. Darious Williams and Donte Deayon avoided giving up big plays and seemed to match up pretty good against the Jaguars receivers. Grabbing at least one interception especially off a rookie would help to bump up this grade.
Jordan Fuller almost grabbed his first interception of the season while combining with Taylor Rapp for a clean game that had no big plays given up to the Jaguars offense. Overall, the pass defense was solid with Fuller watching over top and Rapp played well adding three tackles to slow the run game. Rapp also added a heads up fumble recovery.
Brandon Powell started the game with a 65 yard kick return to set the offense up with fantastic field position. Matt Gay was three for three on field goals. Johnny Hekker continues to be inconsistent with one short punt but also one inside the twenty.
Sean McVay got his players to play mentally sound football, performing at a level expected of them with seven wins against a team with only two. This was not the underwhelming win that we saw against the, at the time, winless Detroit Lions but instead it looked like a team getting things in order after playing below their standard for month. From the energy and physicality to the coaching decisions and play calling, both players and coaches seem to be making changes from the last three games to come out with a dominant win this week and be prepared for the ten win Arizona Cardinals next week.