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Week 13 grades: Rams offensive line gets physical against the Jaguars

Coleman Shelton replaced Brian Allen at center; how did the backup lineman do?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams offensive line dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive front, paving the way for a 37-7 blowout victory at SoFi Stadium. It went about as well as could be expected, except for a few injuries to both center Brian Allen and left guard David Edwards. Edwards injured his foot early in the first quarter, but was able to return to the game as the second quarter got underway.

Unfortunately, Allen was forced to miss the entire game with an MCL sprain suffered on the Rams’ first offensive play. He is currently listed as day-to-day.

Backup Coleman Shelton stepped in and had a pretty decent game. According to Pro Football Focus, Shelton graded out as the 17th ranked center in the NFL in Week 13. That’s not bad for a guy coming off the bench, with minimal expectations of any meaningful playing time. It was a bounce back game in all regards, as all offensive lineman posted grades above their season average, except left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Pass protection: A-

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked only once on the day. It is possible that that one sack could have been avoided if running back Sony Michel was a bit more aggressive in attacking the blitzing safety Rudy Ford, which would have created a cleaner pocket for Stafford. Ford and defensive end Dawuane Smoot combined on the sack.

Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris did do his best to ruin Shelton’s day, leveling Stafford with a big time hit. Robertson-Harris was flagged on the play for lowering his head and spearing Stafford’s sternum with the crown of his helmet. What is interesting to note from PFF’s findings is that right guard Austin Corbett was not credited for allowing that quarterback hit; he was engaged with Robertson-Harris prior to the hit.

Run blocking: A-

Head coach Sean McVay and the offensive staff decided to get a bit more creative against the Jaguars. The game plan included several heavy packages which included Joe Noteboom as an extra blocker. LA even had packages that took out all but one receiver and included Noteboom and two tight ends. Physicality was the name of the game up front. While the running game wasn’t explosive, it found a way to consistently churn out yards. Michel ended up with 121 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, good for five yards per carry.

There was only one notable stumble in the running game. On a third-and-1 situation, Shelton was destroyed by defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, leading to a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. Gotsis used Shelton’s momentum against him and shed the attempted block for a two-yard loss, leading to a field goal attempt.

Penalties: A

All was well in the penalty department, outside of an ineligible lineman downfield call. Corbett was two yards downfield on a screen pass, resulting in a five-yard penalty. He noticed he was a bit further than everyone else, and tried to get back within that one-yard grace window, but he was spotted. It wasn’t a humongous deal in this scenario since it only negated a seven yard gain, but we would be having a completely different conversation if it took six off the board. Luckily, this is something that is easily coached up and fixed.