The Los Angeles Rams returned from their bye week and faced off with the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8. After a promising start and halftime lead of 14-10, the Rams could not add to their total, falling behind 31-14. LA dropped to 3-4 on the season. The offensive woes showed signs of improving, but ultimately the Rams were up ended by their poor offensive line to protect Stafford, particularly at the left guard position. There were a few good individual performances on the offense but collectively it was far from a finished product.
In order to gain a sense of the performance of the roster and its direction, Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded out all the players from the Week 8 contest. Using the PFF grades and the eye test of watching the game, I will provide a weekly evaluation/grade.
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Weekly Grade: Grade for that respective week
Season Grade: Grade for the position over the course of the season
Trend: Direction of the position group from last week to this week
*Denotes a player ranked in the Top 3 at the position*
Matthew Stafford: 65.1 (+3.1), John Wolford: DNP, Bryce Perkins: DNP
Week 8 was probably Stafford’s best game of the season despite failing to throw for over 200 yards. He finished 22/33, 187 yards, one passing touchdown, and one rushing touchdown. He did not commit any turnovers.
I thought Stafford gave LA a chance. He certainly put the team in a position to win going into halftime. But in the second half, the offense was stopped cold. The Rams ran 24 plays for 41 yards. Sacks, penalties, and drops derailed any chance of a comeback.
Pressure rate on Matthew Stafford yesterday:— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) October 31, 2022
First Half: 1/22 (4.5%)
Second Half: 6/14 (42.9%)
Stafford was just 5-12 for 37 yards passing in the second half. #49ers
Stafford was okay outside of two pass attempts. One in particular, he had Kupp wide open down the middle of the field.
The biggest flaw on Stafford and the offense right now is that the Rams have been terrible in the 4th quarter and that trend continued on Sunday, scoring zero points in the second half.
Week 8 Grade: C+, Season Grade: D+, Trend: Slight Upward
Cam Akers: 59.0 (INA), Darrell Henderson: 56.8 (-0.4), Kyren Williams: INA, Malcolm Brown: 53.8 (-9.4), Ronnie Rivers: 64.5 (+0.3)
With the Rams still without Cam Akers (personal reasons / trade block), the RB duties consisted of Henderson, Brown, and Rivers. However, Henderson was dealing with flu symptoms through the practice week. Ronnie Rivers was tasked with handling the majority of run plays, while Henderson checked in on most passing situations.
The run game was non-existent, and Sean McVay failed to utilize the jet sweeps with his WRs that he used in Week 6.
Henderson, Brown, and Rivers combined for 17 carries, 47 yards, zero touchdowns. The longest rush for the team was a six-yard carry by Henderson.
Week 8 Grade: D-, Season Grade: D, Trend: Slight Downward
Cooper Kupp: 88.3 (+1.1), Allen Robinson II: 62.2 (+1.3), Van Jefferson: 50.3, Tutu Atwell: 67.8 (DNP), Bennett Skowronek: 55.8 (+0.1), Brandon Powell: 71.5 (-0.8), Lance McCutcheon: 59.3 (DNP)
After the first half, it appeared Cooper Kupp was going to have a huge game, but the offense’s struggles in the second half kept Kupp at bay. He still collected eight receptions (12 targets) for 79 yards, one touchdown. Kupp suffered an inexcusable ankle injury late in the 4th quarter.
Allen Robinson did show more flashes of continuity with Stafford, fetching five receptions (seven targets) for 54 yards. He did draw a questionable taunting penalty against Hufanga. Regardless, Robinson should not have put the team in that position.
- Allen Robinson signals first down in front of a #49ers player.— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 30, 2022
- #49ers players point to ref that he's taunting.
- Ref throws a flag for taunting.
- 49ers players celebrate the taunting.
This is the NFL right now.pic.twitter.com/1fRu2gHn8x
Skowronek was the only other wide receiver targeted. And at this point, an argument can be made that Skowronek has been the Rams best draft pick in the last two years based on round and value.
Tutu Atwell did not see any offensive snaps for the second straight time against the San Francisco 49ers.
Week 8 Grade: B-, Season Grade: C+, Trend: Neutral
Tyler Higbee: 59.8 (-2.0), Brycen Hopkins: 53.7 (-1.6), Kendall Blanton: 70.1 (DNP)
Tyler Higbee had a rough day. He suffered a neck injury (stinger) on the Rams second drive of the game. He later returned. However, Nick Bosa bulldozed him in the second half, leaving Higbee on his back. And to cap off the day, Higbee dropped a wide-open slant across the middle when the team needed a spark for an attempt at a comeback.
Higbee drop was biggest luck!— Forrest Gump (@ForrestGump49er) October 31, 2022
I already watched #49ers game #film.
Higbee is off to the races if he catches that! #Rams set picks (pretending to run routes) and Higbee ran across all alone!
You could see an assistant slam his clipboard
Week 8 Grade: F, Season Grade: D+, Trend: Moderate-to-Significant Downward
Joe Noteboom: 67.0 (IR), David Edwards: 58.2 (IR), Brian Allen: 70.0 (+3.4), Coleman Shelton: 49.9 (IR), Rob Havenstein: 69.0 (+6.3), Alaric Jackson: 63.8 (+0.0), Tremayne Anchrum: 60.0 (IR), Bobby Evans: 37.3 (-1.9), Jeremiah Kolone: 36.1 (INA), Oday Aboushi: 56.6 (+3.5)
The offensive line pass protection in the first half was pretty good. It allowed for Stafford to work through his progressions and even hit the wide receivers on intermediate crossers. In the second half, the offensive line was not able to adjust to the 49ers pressure.
Bobby Evans could not handle a stunt (twist) and Fred Warner made him pay over and over. Look no further than his PFF grade.
Brian Allen helped shore up some of the protection issues, but the Rams lack quality guard play and continue to be exposed on the interior in the run game and in pass protection.
The question is what do the Rams do in order to fix the offensive line for the remainder of 2022 and the limitations they had with their depth. Do they need to trade for an offensive guard? Do they sign one in free agency? Do they draft another guard early? The writing appears to be on the wall that if McVay wants to resurrect his offense, he must address the offensive line now and moving forward.
Week 8 Grade: C-, Season Grade: D-, Trend: Neutral
HC (Sean McVay)
Sean McVay needed this win to silence Shanahan’s run of regular season wins on him and the Rams. Unfortunately, McVay did not get the job done and it stings more after having a full bye week to prepare.
McVay still has to address the offensive line and rushing attack if he wants to right the ship for the 2022 season.
From a coaching perspective, Coach McVay has to be quicker at making in-game adjustments. He has not done a great job of that this year, as evidenced by the team’s inability to score points in the 4th quarter.
With a lil time to process...— Darkly Chaotic Matthew Stafford (@MikeBlitz86) October 31, 2022
9ers have smacked us 2 times a year for the last 5 years.
In that time
9ers are 42-46
Rams are 65-33
(With a lopsided match up baked in)
We have at least 9 more weeks of football.
How we look vs the 9ers is rarely how we play vs the league.
Week 8 Grade: C-, Season Grade: C-, Trend: Neutral
Stay tuned within the next 24 hours for the defensive PFF grades from Week 6 for the Los Angeles Rams roster overview!
How should the Rams upgrade the left guard spot in 2023?
This poll is closed
Resign David Edwards
Promote Matt Skura
Sign a Left Guard
Draft one in 2nd Round
Trade for Left Guard