Christmas day brought miracles for the struggling offense of the Los Angeles Rams. Tyler Higbee, at least for one night, turned back into the productive 2019 version of himself. Brycen Hopkins stepped up as a complement to Higbee despite being seemingly absent all season. Cam Akers turned in a career day and has been as good as any Ram over the last month or so.
The defense also had their fair share of individual standouts, from Cobie Durant to Larrell Murchison.
Top five grades on offense:
1 - Tyler Higbee, TE: 90.3
2 - Brycen Hopkins, TE: 85.8
The Rams used as much 12 personnel (1 back, 2 TE’s) in this game as they have all season, and that likely played a hand in helping Akers to his big day on the ground. The tight end duo were also the focal point of the passing game, and the Rams were able to use play action off the back of the productive ground attack.
Higbee finished with 9 receptions for 94 yards and 2 scores.
Hopkins had 3 receptions for 57 yards.
3 - Malcolm Brown, RB: 85.3
4 - Cam Akers, RB: 81.0
Brown played only seven offensive snaps, but he had a couple impressive runs in the red zone.
Akers created yardage after contact and was as physical as we’ve ever seen him on his way to accumulating 118 yards and 3 touchdowns on 23 carries. He also added 2 receptions for 29 yards.
5 - Rob Havenstein, RT: 90.8
Havenstein struggled last week against the Green Bay Packers, but there’s not really anyone on this offense that didn’t have problems in frigid Lambeau Field? It’s good to see the veteran leader on the offensive line bounce back.
Other notes on offense:
Baker Mayfield came in at #6 overall on the Rams offense with a 70.1 grade, which was his highest outing on the 2022 season. Mayfield competed 24 of 28 passes for 230 yards and 2 TD’s.
Top five grades on defense:
1 - Cobie Durant, CB: 94.7
Durant picked off two interceptions from each of the Broncos QB’s, Russell Wilson & Brett Rypien - the second he returned for a touchdown.
While Durant’s breakout was impressive, it’s fair to question why fellow rookie Derion Kendrick played over him for most of the season. Durant is a good coverage player that struggles at times in tackling and run defense.
2 - Bobby Wagner, MLB: 91.9
Wagner picked off his former teammate, Russell Wilson, after getting an interception earlier in the season against his former team, the Seahawks.
The Wagner revenge tour has gone well, and he’s likely the MVP of the Rams this season.
3 - Leonard Floyd, OLB: 88.4
The Rams say Floyd continues to get healthier after suffering an injury earlier in the year that initially seemed to be season-ending, and he’s really picked up his play over the last few games.
Is he playing his way onto the team in 2023, or could the Rams still move on?
4 - Larrell Murchison, DT: 76.4
Can he continue to flash over the final two games?
5 - Greg Gaines, DT: 73.6
Other notes on defense:
The decision to play Kendrick over Durant continues to be a curious one, and this particular game shows how starkly opposite these players are trending - while Durant finished as the highest graded player, Kendrick finished as the lowest on six snaps (27.6).