After getting trounced by the Buffalo Bills to start the season, the Los Angeles Rams and their star players are rounding into form. LA has now won two of three games, and the turnaround has been driven by the best players on the team - similar to the Rams’ Super Bowl run a year ago.
Jalen Ramsey, Bobby Wagner, and Aaron Donald led the way for the defense against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. While the unit allowed Arizona to move the ball and complete short passes, ultimately the Rams kept the Cardinals out of the end zone - and that was the difference in this game.
Matthew Stafford’s offense put up two touchdowns of their own - both on the ground. While they came up just short on a handful of explosive-type plays, overall the process and approached seemed much more efficient and effective.
Top 5 grades on offense:
1 - Kendall Blanton, TE: 94.7
Blanton only had five snaps in this game, but in his limited opportunities he was able to rip off an explosive 28-yard catch and run.
Two big plays for the Rams, 28 yards to Kendall Blanton and 26 yards to Ben Skowronek! #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/EuSmbF0pws— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) September 25, 2022
2 - Brandon Powell, WR: 87.1
At this point it’s fair to say that the kick return specialist has usurped Tutu Atwell on the depth chart, despite playing only six snaps. When Powell is on the field, he’s likely to be involved - he caught all three of his targets for 27 yards.
3 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 82.7
Week 3 was the franchise QB’s first performance of 2022 without a turnover-worthy play - and the offense went without a turnover for most the game, until Cam Akers’ late fumble to give the Cardinals life. Stafford was credited with 2 big-time throws on only 25 attempts, which is an impressive rate.
Another look at the Stafford spin @RamsNFL— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2022
: #LARvsAZ on FOX
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4 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 80.2
It wasn’t the most productive day for Kupp, but the Cardinals seem to have some understanding of how to limit the star receiver. Kupp received a run blocking grade of 91.4 in this game, which shows he’s still giving an unrelenting effort in that facet of the offense.
.@CooperKupp takes the handoff into the end zone! What can't he do!?— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2022
: #LARvsAZ on FOX
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Vr11sqlsAh pic.twitter.com/PCDsbJUFQo
5 - Joseph Noteboom, LT: 77.2
JJ Watt mostly lined up on the left side of the defense, which means Noteboom had a favorable matchup and took advantage. He earned an impressive 80.5 pass blocking grade and allowed only a single pressure.
Other notes on offense:
Coleman Shelton is a fan favorite on the offensive line, but he continues to grade poorly by PFF’s standards. Shelton was the lowest graded player on offense a week ago versus the Atlanta Falcons, and he once again earned that honor in Week 3 (47.6 overall).
Top 5 grades on defense:
1 - Jalen Ramsey, CB: 90.4
Ramsey has continually improved this season after a rough first outing against the Bills. He was all over the field in this game, and it’s wholly unsurprising that he ended up as the top-graded player on defense.
Jalen Ramsey SHUTTING IT DOWN! #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/0aUsPlRI5Z— Pro Football Culture (@proftblculture) September 25, 2022
2 - Bobby Wagner. MLB: 84.3
The veteran linebacker has been a force in the run game, which is a marked improvement from where the Rams have been in recent years.
3 - Aaron Donald, DE: 74.7
Donald tripped Murray for an athletic sack, and he prevented the Cardinals’ quarterback from running around and playing backyard football as he tends to do. Sure, you can play that way against the Las Vegas Raiders, but not against Donald and company.
THAT'S 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ SACKS FOR @AaronDonald97!— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 25, 2022
: @NFLonFOX | https://t.co/4beUdmlymg pic.twitter.com/9DEJKCwu2O
4 - Grant Haley, CB: 72.7
The reserve corner impressed during the preseason and he built on that performance during his regular season debut. Haley was targeted 6 times, allowing 5 catches for only 45 yards (9 avg).
5 - Marquise Copeland, DT: 66.3
Other notes on defense:
Rookie cornerback Derion Kendrick was targeted a whopping 16 times (!), allowing 9 catches for 102 yards (11.3 avg). It is encouraging that Kendrick can be targeted that often without giving up a big play or touchdown - and he was physical in bringing down receivers once they made the catch.
The @RamsNFL get a 4th down stop and DC Raheem Morris is loving it— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2022
: #LARvsAZ on FOX
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Vr11sqlsAh pic.twitter.com/WYBkW5HkAB