The Los Angeles Rams’ Week 11 loss to the New Orleans Saints was a tough blow to stomach. A slumping offense showed signs of life in the first half before falling apart down the stretch just as they’ve done all season. Tutu Atwell showed he’s exactly as advertised - running right by the corner and destroying the safety’s angle en route to a 62-yard touchdown bomb.
The defense fell apart on Sunday afternoon as well, though these struggles mostly came in the secondary. The front seven played well against a short-handed New Orleans offensive line, as evidenced by strong grades from Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Greg Gaines, and Bobby Wagner.
Here’s are the top performers in terms of grading by Pro Football Focus (PFF):
Top 5 grades on offense:
1 - Tutu Atwell, WR: 96.0
It’s almost criminal that Sean McVay and the coaching staff can’t find more ways to leverage Atwell’s speed, because he seems to be the fastest player on the field in the limited opportunities that he’s actually on it. Either he’s going to be open or someone else will be, especially now that it’s on tape he can outrun the entire defense.
It’s time to get the second-year receiver more involved.
2 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 90.6
Stafford was having one of his best outings of the 2022 season before leaving with another potential concussion. He played mistake-free football while finding opportunities to push the ball downfield.
Will we see him again over the remaining seven games, or will he be shut down for the rest of the year?
3 - Kyren Williams, RB: 74.1
Darrell Henderson earned the start, but found himself relegated in favor of Cam Akers and the rookie Kyren Williams. Williams played the majority of the snaps (35 to Akers’ 25 and Henderson’s 4), while Akers got significantly more touches (14 to Williams’ 8).
Henderson seems on his way out of Los Angeles as he’s set to hit unrestricted free agency, but it will be interesting to see how the Rams approach the workload in this backfield for the remainder of the regular season.
4 - Bryce Perkins, QB: 70.2
Whether Matthew Stafford is able to play next week or he’s out for the remainder of the season, Bryce Perkins showed in this game that he deserves to be either the primary backup to Stafford or the starter if the veteran is unable to play moving forward.
John Wolford was atrocious a week ago against the Cardinals, but Perkins’ mobility adds a new element to the offense - which also opened up the traditional running game. If Stafford can’t go next week, give Perkins a full week to prepare, design the offense for his unique skillset, and give him the best chance to succeed.
Bryce Perkins in limited time today— Wain (@JoeyBFutureMVP) November 20, 2022
64 Passing Yards on 10 Attempts
39 Rushing Yards on 5 Runs
5 - Allen Robinson, WR: 69.2
It’s clear that Atwell is the Rams’ best receiver now that Cooper Kupp is unavailable for the next five to seven weeks. Robinson was the second graded receiver in a stable that is hoping to replace Kupp’s production by committee.
Other notes on offense:
The Rams ruled out Alaric Jackson, David Edwards, Brian Allen, and Chandler Brewer with various ailments all leading up to the game. Then Ty Nsekhe left early due to injury.
The replacements were overall liabilities in pass protection - Oday Aboushi (RG) earned a 36.9 pass blocking grade, Matt Skura (LG) was at 34.4. and Bobby Evans (LT) earned a disastrous 13.9 mark.
Rams left tackles, from Super Bowl to today:— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) November 20, 2022
-Andrew Whitworth (retired)
-Joe Noteboom (IR)
-AJ Jackson (IR)
-Ty Nsekhe (questionable to return)
-Bobby Evans (questionable to block)
Top 5 grades on defense:
1 - Aaron Donald, DE: 90.6
It was a dominant performance from the star defensive end, and he certainly opened things up for LA’s other pass rushers (see grades, sacks from Floyd & Gaines). Donald didn’t record a sack on his own, but he did make multiple strong tackles for loss.
2 - Bobby Wagner, MLB: 84.6
Los Angeles did a fine job bottling up Alvin Kamara on the ground - he had 12 carries for 42 yards (3.5 avg). Taysom Hill was their best runner with 9 carries for 52 yards (5.8 avg). Veteran David Johnson, who the Saints signed off the street this week, had a single carry for a loss of four yards.
Wagner was an important part in slowing down the running backs.
3 - Leonard Floyd, OLB: 80.4
4 - Greg Gaines, DT: 79.1
Floyd and Gaines each recorded two sacks, and it’s fun to watch this pass rush when someone else steps up to supplement the production of Donald - you just wish you saw these performances on a more consistent basis.
Leonard Floyd gets the huge sack on 2nd & goal pic.twitter.com/RikcSyzys0— LA Rams Nation (@RamsNationCP) November 20, 2022
5 - Michael Hoecht, DE: 71.5
Hoecht has been a staple on special teams for the Rams over the past couple of seasons, and he graded well on five defensive snaps. He lined up at edge rusher on three of those plays, which suggests he may be an option at getting more production at OLB opposite Floyd. Justin Hollins and Terrell Lewis have failed to make the most of their opportunities in 2022, so why not see what Hoecht can do? he earned a pass rush grade of 70.0, which was much higher than Hollins (52.9) and Lewis (49.8).
Other notes on defense:
It was a tough day for the secondary against New Orleans, and there was room for Andy Dalton and the Saints receivers to work all afternoon long.
Rookie Russ Yeast was the highest graded defender in the secondary at 65.2, but he played just 12 snaps and was graded eighth overall on the defense. Nick Scott (9th), Jalen Ramsey (11th), Derion Kendrick (13th), David Long (14th), Taylor Rapp (15th), and Troy Hill (16th) followed him.