The Los Angeles Rams offense looked more in sync Sunday afternoon, helping propel the team to a 31-27 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Sean McVay used his creative mind this week to exploit the Falcons defense by using I-formation while operating out of 11 personnel. The change resulted in the Rams scoring two touchdowns on their first two possessions, totaling 17 plays, 116 yards, and 9:51 of game clock. Cooper Kupp was his usual superstar self, but who else on the offense impressed during the game?
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 2 contest. Using the PFF grades and the eye test of watching the game, I will provide a weekly evaluation/grade.
- 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
Matthew Stafford: 64.7 (+0.5), John Wolford: DNP, Bryce Perkins: DNP
Stafford started the game red hot, going a perfect 12/12 for 119 yards and one touchdown, but then the star quarterback got greedy. Stafford attempted to throw into double coverage to Tyler Higbee but was intercepted, killing a six-play, 52-yard drive. Stafford hit the bounce back button by connecting with Kupp to find the endzone twice. But the turnover prone QB was picked off midway through the third quarter when trying to force a pass over the middle to Kupp.
Compared to last week, Stafford improved. But he still has to cut down his turnovers as he now has five interceptions in two games. His turnovers dating back to the 2021 season include 13 interceptions in his last six regular season games.
Week 2 Grade: C-, Season Grade: D+, Trend: Very Slight Upward
Cam Akers: 62.3 (+11.8), Darrell Henderson: 53.3 (-1.5), Kyren Williams: DNP, Jake Funk: DNP
The Rams' rushing attack is going to have skewed numbers. The Brandon Powell intentional safety goes into the play by play as a negative 26 rush. Henderson and Akers shared 25 carries for 91 yards. While the yards per carry are still less than league average, it’s not nearly as bad as the 2.5 average that the box score shows. Akers has yet to find a rhythm, but his snap share was 43%, significantly higher than in Week 1. Another positive I have seen from Akers is his vision, he made a linebacker miss a tackle for loss and made a nice cutback on his longest run for eight yards.
Week 2 Grade: C, Season Grade: C, Trend: Very Slight Upward
Cooper Kupp: 87.7 (+4.4), Allen Robinson II: 62.0 (+7.7), Van Jefferson: INA, Tutu Atwell: 52.7 (-0.6), Bennett Skowronek: 51.6 (-1.5), Brandon Powell: 65.0 (-4.5), Lance McCutcheon: INA
Outside of a fumble, where every Los Angeles Rams fan found themselves breathing into a brown paper bag, Kupp was Kupp. 11 more receptions (14 targets), 108 yards, and two touchdowns. *Yawn*. And his fancy footwork was on display again, shaking a Falcons defender for his second touchdown on top of also hauling in at least two sideline catches.
Ben Skowronek was the subject of McVay’s I-formation experiment out of 11 personnel. When lined up as a fullback, the offense had an extra gear.
Out of 63 Rams offensive plays against the Falcons, WR Ben Skowronek aligned at the Fullback position on 19 of them against the Falcons.— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) September 19, 2022
Rams EPA/play with Skowronek at Fullback: .23
Rams EPA/play on all other plays: .09
(all data via @TruMediaSports)
Allen Robinson was able to showcase his fit for the passing game, hauling in four receptions for 53 yards, and his first touchdown as an LA Ram (should have been two).
Brandon Powell has earned the good graces of Sean McVay and has carved out a small role within the offense. Powell lined up in the backfield in split back formations, while also motioned during pre-snap as a jet sweep option.
Tutu Atwell is still trying to work his way into the lineup conversation more, but at this point Skowronek has a firm grip on the third wide-receiver spot.
Week 2 Grade: B, Season Grade: B, Trend: Very Slight Upward
Tyler Higbee: 62.9 (+5.5), Brycen Hopkins: 57.1 (-7.4)
This was a get right game for Tyler Higbee after a nightmarish season opener. The Western Kentucky tight end caught seven receptions (nine targets) for 71 yards. If Higbee finds himself with that type of stat line each week, the offense is likely in good shape.
Week 2 Grade: B, Season Grade: C-, Trend: Moderate Upward
Joe Noteboom: 61.6 (+2.6), David Edwards: 50.9 (+11.5), Brian Allen: 67.6 (INA), Coleman Shelton: 57.1 (-10.8), Rob Havenstein: 69.0 (+4.3), Alaric Jackson: 71.1, Tremayne Anchrum: 60.0
Entering Week 2, the offensive line was already thin. After the first offensive series, I imagine Sean McVay was holding his breath for the remainder of the game. Tremayne Anchrum fractured his fibula on the first series and was carted off. Alaric Jackson calmed McVay’s nerves with a strong showing in a replacement role. Moving forward, it appears the offensive line will be: Noteboom-Edwards-Shelton-Jackson-Havenstein with Bobby Evans, Jeremiah Kolone, and recently signed Oday Aboushi as the reserves.
Guard Oday Aboushi elevated to the active roster to help depth for an embattled interior offensive line.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 20, 2022
Despite a negative grade from PFF, I thought Coleman Shelton played very well. Mark Sanchez was even highlighting his play, albeit with some odd choice of comparison.
The rest: Noteboom, Edwards, and Havenstein were solid in pass protection, but could improve more in the run game.
Week 2 Grade: B+, Season Grade: C-, Trend: Moderate Upward
HC (Sean McVay)
I think Sean McVay was solid for almost the entire game. The turnovers were on Stafford and Kupp. The only head-scratcher on McVay’s part was calling two straight pass plays from the one-yard line, instead of running it with Henderson. A great part about McVay is that he even acknowledged the mastermind behind the intentional safety play - John Wolford. Props to the coach for crediting and praising his players for being situational masters like he preaches.
McVay’s I-formation package is a nice touch that he can go to if teams are using the deep shell game to prevent explosives. He even incorporated the screen game to Higbee and made an emphasis to get Allen Robinson targeted.
Let’s see if our head coach can continue to get the most out of his playmakers with Cam Akers and Tutu Atwell still trying to find their identity in the offense.
Week 2 Grade: A-, Season Grade: C, Trend: Moderate Upward
Stay tuned for the defensive PFF grades for the Los Angeles Rams roster overview!