There wasn’t much that was working on offense for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, and a big part of that was an inept performance by the offensive line - particularly on the left side.
It didn’t look likely that things would improve for LA heading into a Week 2 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Brian Allen was slated to miss 2-4 weeks with a knee injury, so RG Coleman Shelton slid inside to take his place at center. Tremayne Anchrum replaced Shelton, though he played only two snaps before getting carted off with an ankle injury. The Rams were forced to go to the third string at right guard - and AJ Jackson, who normally plays tackle, was one of the top performers on the offense Sunday afternoon.
The offensive line was heavily blamed for the Week 1 collapse, but they also deserve equal credit for rebounding in game two.
Top 5 grades on offense:
1 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 83.2
Kupp is usually at the top of this list for the Rams offense on a weekly basis. He had a costly fumble late in the fourth quarter, but his production 11 catches for 108 yards and 2 TD’s outweighs the bad.
My little Cooper Kupp remains ridiculous pic.twitter.com/E9tIXoH7ye— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) September 18, 2022
2 - AJ Jackson, OL: 71.1
The second-year UDFA graded better in the ground game (69.8) than pass protection (64.9), but that’s really where Jackson specializes.
3 - Rob Havenstein, RT: 70.3
Rob Havenstein has probably been LA’s best lineman through two weeks. The dependable veteran has stepped up in a big way in the absence of future Hall of Fame talent Andrew Whitworth.
4 - Allen Robinson, WR: 69.6
It wasn’t the most productive afternoon for the veteran receiver, but 4 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown are a step in the right direction. Robinson could have had another touchdown if the officials didn’t stop the game in the middle of a play to evaluate a Falcons player for a head injury.
Allen Robinson. So back pic.twitter.com/W68u9YUap6— Onward State (@OnwardState) September 18, 2022
5 - Tyler Higbee, TE: 68.5
Higbee has been the secondary target to Kupp so far this season. He’s already been targeted 18 times this season - converting 12 of those for 110 yards.
Is the veteran on his way to a career season in year 7?
Other offensive notes:
Social media seemed very high on Coleman Shelton’s performance filling in for Allen at center, but PFF had him as the lowest graded offensive player for LA. He held up well in pass protection (73.3) but struggled in the run blocking department (47.9). Overall, Shelton has still been one of the Rams’ better lineman so far in 2022.
Another interesting note - while Darrell Henderson was the more effective ball carrier (4.7 YPC) respective to Cam Akers (2.9 YPC), Akers was the sixth highest graded player per PFF and Henderson was well towards the bottom. The difference seems to be in pass protection where Henderson received a failing grade of 27.0 on 5 opportunities and Akers excelled at 83.2 during 4 reps.
Top 5 grades on defense:
1 - Aaron Donald, DE: 91.7
Donald generated pressure on Marcus Mariota to force an incredibly important interception by Jalen Ramsey at the goal line. The star defensive end recorded 6 total pressures, though he did not sack Mariota in this game.
Aaron Donald was quiet stat wise but we don’t win this game without him. He blows up the protection per usual and makes Mariota throw this ball high and Ramsey seals it. Love that man. pic.twitter.com/3bBQUIylz1— Wes (@Sleyson80) September 19, 2022
2 - Terrell Lewis, OLB: 81.5
While Justin Hollins was the OLB that made plays in clutch moments towards the end of this game, Lewis graded out higher overall.
Lewis recorded 2 “stops” on defense, which are tackles that constitute an offensive failure. He also received an 80.1 pass coverage grade on 4 snaps.
3 - Bobby Wagner, MLB: 79.2
4 - Jalen Ramsey, CB: 76.7
PFF credited Ramsey as allowing 2 receptions on 5 targets for 19 yards, 1 TD, and a passer rating of 51.3. He was attributed the wide open touchdown by Olamide Zaccheaus, but ultimately his clutch interception outweighed the coverage bust.
It was a much-needed bounce back performance for the star cornerback.
Olamide Zaccheaus TD #wahoowapic.twitter.com/bssVV2UV77— Ben Wieland (@BenWieland) September 18, 2022
5 - A’Shawn Robinson, DE: 69.5
The run defense bottled up a formidable Falcons ground attack, holding Atlanta to only 90 yards overall. Some of this may have been due to the game script and LA jumping out to a 28-3 lead; however, the Rams were effective against the run early and that is an important part of slowing down Arthur Smith’s offense.
Robinson played a big part in the sturdy run defense.
Other defensive notes:
David Long, Jr. exited the game with a shoulder injury (he later returned, so an encouraging sign for his upcoming availability). Rochell, who was hobbled in pregame warmups with a lower body soft tissue injury, came in for only 3 snaps. During that time he allowed a 4-yard touchdown grab to rookie Drake London. Rochell has been billed as a future starter by this coaching staff, so it’s fair to expect more out of him.
.@DrakeLondon_ scores his first career touchdown! #DirtyBirds— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2022
: #ATLvsLAR on FOX
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/bM69Jy3G4O pic.twitter.com/ELE4lzlAWQ
Cobie Durant came into the game for an injured Troy Hill and immediately earned an interception and sack, but he also missed a tackle. This was seemingly a problem for him in the preseason and a concern due to his lack of size. The rookie corner needs to improve in this facet of his game.