The defense led the way on Sunday afternoon, continuing a recent string of strong play. Ernest Jones was all over the field in both the run and pass games, and the second-year linebacker played an important part in bottling up the dynamic Christian McCaffrey.
The offense also earned some momentum, and they’ll hope to build on that coming out of their Week 7 bye. Allen Robinson finally became involved in a meaningful way on offense - he and Cooper Kupp complemented each other well in the aerial attack.
It took a total team effort to down the Panthers in Week 6, but there were a number of individuals that stood out. Here are the top five graded players on each side of the ball, per Pro Football Focus (PFF):
Top 5 grades on offense:
1 - Allen Robinson, WR: 83.6
Kupp was again the focal point of the passing game with 8 targets, but Robinson wasn’t too far behind him with 6. The veteran receiver converted those targets into 5 receptions for 63 yards and a TD.
2 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 75.2
Despite throwing a pick-six for his second defensive touchdown in as many weeks, PFF did not credit Stafford with a single turnover-worthy throw. This was Stafford’s second best outing in 2022 in terms of overall grade, coming in behind his 82.7 mark against the Atlanta Falcons.
After adjusting for a 20% drop back threshold, Stafford is now the 30th ranked QB in the NFL (not all Week 6 grades have been recorded, such as the two primetime games).
3 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 74.3
Kupp finished with 7 catches for 80 yards. He also contributed another 17 yards on a couple of carries.
It’s not the box score we are used to from Kupp, especially with Carolina’s Jaycee Horn being held out of the game due to injury.
4 - Joseph Noteboom, LT: 72.1
Noteboom played well on his 9 offensive snaps prior to leaving the game due to injury. The team fears he tore his Achilles and will be out for the remainder of the season, which is just another blow in series of injuries along the offensive line.
5 - Tutu Atwell, WR: 68.6
Atwell appeared in only 2 snaps on offense, taking a jet sweep 9 yards on the ground.
The second-year speedster has played well in his limited opportunities, which makes it fair to question why he’s not on the field more often.
NextGen: After today's 9-yard jet sweep broke 21 MPH again, Tutu Atwell now has the top 3 GPS speeds of the season for the Rams.— J.B. Long (@JB_Long) October 16, 2022
Which is surprising, because like you, I also saw Michael Hoecht's 22-yard kick return.
Other notes on offense:
LA should look to shake up the offensive line after the bye week. Brian Allen should be back at center. AJ Jackson will likely become the full-time starter on LT. Is Oday Aboushi good enough to start at RG, or is he just the best option the Rams have at the moment?
Jeremiah Kolone - 38.2 OVR, 18.0 pass blocking grade
Oday Aboushi - 53.1 OVR, 47.7 pass
Bobby Evans - 54.3 OVR, 76.3 pass
Rob Havenstein - 57.5 OVR, 82.4 pass
AJ Jackson - 68.2 OVR, 86.3 pass
Rams OL:— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) October 16, 2022
LT AJ Jackson (4th career start, first game at LT)
LG Bobby Evans (2 starts since 2020, 2nd ever game at LG)
C Jeremiah Kolone (2nd career start, entered NFL in 2018 and didn't appear in game until this year)
RG Oday Aboushi (FA last month)
RT Rob Havenstein
Top 5 grades on defense:
1 - Ernest Jones, MLB: 83.6
Jones was targeted only a single time in coverage, giving up a 6-yard completion but also recording a pass deflection that resulted in an interception by Nick Scott.
The second-year linebacker was a force in the run game, earning 4 defensive stops and helping limit the damage done by McCaffrey.
2 - Aaron Donald, DE: 82.7
The box score wasn’t pretty for Donald, but he was consistently in the backfield. The Panthers relied on a lot of quick passes, screens, and designed rollouts, leaving Donald with only 1 true pass rushing rep. He hurried the quarterback on that only opportunity.
3 - Jalen Ramsey, CB: 80.2
The star corner was aggressive making tackles on receivers after short completions, and he recorded his second career sack after notching his first a week ago.
Ramsey was targeted 4 times in coverage, allowing just 2 completions for 14 yards.
4 - A’Shawn Robinson, DE: 73.7
Robinson recorded a 76.3 run defense grade and averaged an average depth of tackle of 2.0 yards, the second-lowest mark on the team behind Donald (1.7).
The Rams needed to stop the run in order to put the weight of the offense on the quarterback, and Robinson played an important part in making that happen.
5 - Taylor Rapp, DB: 73.1
Rapp earned a 82.9 tackling grade and consistently made his presence felt with physical hits on the ball carrier.
mccaffrey has gotta be one sore dude today... pic.twitter.com/cz3zljGq5t— roberto clemente (@rclemente2121) October 17, 2022
Other notes on defense:
Bobby Wagner received the blame for the 49-yard catch and run by McCaffrey, which was easily the Panthers’ most explosive play of the game. This resulted in Wagner’s worst-graded outing as a Ram.