Against the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams offense demonstrated the ability to attack aggressively, pass with confidence, and secure the football. The defense played the bend don’t break mentality while working to stop the run and leveraging the Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey dynamic.
Here’s a breakdown of the performances by position group and the resulting grade.
Matthew Stafford was the player of the game in my book. His completed 20 of 26 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Ball security was also executed with excellence as he did not fumble or throw an interception. Turnovers will be the main criteria for top grades in this QB grading program. A sound ball security game is just the foundation and Rams fans got a glimpse of that and more. Stafford threw a 67-yard touchdown to Van Jefferson on the second play of the game and hit another deep bass for 56 yards to Cooper Kupp later in the game. He also spread the ball around with efficiency to Robert Woods, Tyler Higbee, DeSean Jackson and Darrell Henderson. Stafford led with confidence, competitiveness, and enthusiasm and his team responded.
Darrell Henderson took 94% of the offensive snaps. His presence was threatening enough to draw attention on the play action pass that went 67 yards to the end zone on the first drive. He followed that with 16 carries for 70 total yards and one touchdown from the one yard that was set up by a Cooper Kupp catch and run. Henderson’s beefier gains came in the fourth quarter and effectively helped to put the game to rest. Other rushers were Sony Michel with one carry for two yards and Robert Woods who got seven yards out of the background.
These fellas balled out. Starting out with a bang was second year WR Van Jefferson with a 67 yard strike to start the game. Big credit for this one as it starts with the perfect route by Jefferson beating his man with a solid release and then beating the safety by getting the hips to turn and breaking right on time, finally the angle was just right to stay vertical but also separate. To make the grade and score go up, he uses the awareness to realize he’d not been touched on the ground; no quit mentality and heads up play shows a veteran mindset and turns the play into a touchdown. On that same play, Kupp makes the securing pass block and Woods draws enough attention to get the key safety to get the deep route open. Woods also scored on a laser pass over the back middle of the end zone that required full stretch and perfect toe drag to complete.
Tyler Higbee played a solid game with five catches for 68 yards and a longest catch for 37 yards. This is likely the max output line for the tight end within the gameplan and Higbee did not disappoint. There will be gameplans designed for more of the attack to go through the tight ends especially with Higbee but on this night no such plan was required. This game did endorse confidence in Higbee to be targeted consistently and interest in Higbee in the red zone.
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The line had a good first game. With 386 total offensive yards, no turnovers, and three touchdowns, the line has to get credit for a clean game. The quarterback was only sacked once and the running back had a 4.3 yard average per carry. Individually the standouts were Brian Allen who held his own for most of the game but was the man beat on the teams only sack. Rob Havenstein did a solid job of holding off one of the leagues best rushers in Khalil Mack.
Rough start for the defensive line as the Chicago Bears demonstrated the ability to run through the front early in the game. The lines defense did tighten enough to keep the game out of striking range as the offense built the lead. The Bears racked up a total of 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Aaron Donald raises the grade by his constant pressure during passing plays and one sack and one assisted sack.
Justin Hollins got two sacks and Kenny Young got the tip to the score saving interception in the first quarter. The backers have to share the deduction for the Bears rushing yards with rest of the front. Young did a solid job of being in position covering man and zones and also got credit for a fumble recovery. Troy Reeder had a decent game but was a step behind the play on a few.
Jalen Ramsey was the star in plays and in position. He was lined up on the inside position for most of the game with Darious Williams and David Long Jr on the corners. Using a combination of man and zone coverages, Ramsey appeared in interior passing lanes, played near the line and added to run support, all while Williams and Long Jr held their own against the Bears receivers with no big plays and the top two receivers totaling less than 70 yards. Long Jr had the interception of the game to save a touchdown on the first drive. Rookie Robert Rochell came in to sub for David Long Jr. who left with an injury and got a PBU to stop a fourth down attempt.
Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp helped to tighten the run support when it was needed and also prevented any big plays from the passing game. The group will also share the deduction for the rushing attack, and while a solid outing was had, the group did not contribute to the turnover or sack count.
Rough start with the kickoff by the Rams being returned to midfield. But after that, kicker Matt Gay was a perfect four for four on extra points and two for two on field goal attempts.
Overall, the team would earn a high grade for a great opener well executed. Sean McVay has got to be pleased with his gameplan and his teams execution. The team will see opponents soon who will present greater tests for these units but this was a good show. The Rams travel to play the Indianapolis Colts in Week two.