Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams only put up 20 points in Sunday’s divisional win over the Arizona Cardinals. While the Rams have yet to put all the pieces together in this young season, the Rams are finding ways to win. So, who got the job done for the Rams on the offensive side of the ball Sunday afternoon?
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/grades.
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
*As a change of pace from last year, I have decided to break the article into two separate articles, one focusing on the offense and the other on the defense*
Matthew Stafford: 72.6 (+7.4), John Wolford: DNP, Bryce Perkins: DNP
So that’s what it looks like to win in a plain manner. Stafford was 18/25 with 249 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions. If anything, Stafford was let down on two plays. On the Rams first drive, Allen Robinson dropped a pass on 2nd and goal for a walk-in touchdown. Later in the game, Stafford delivered a beautiful ball in double coverage to Cooper Kupp, but the star receiver didn’t extend his arms enough.
Overall, Stafford made a few plays with his legs and in the pocket, managing to pick up a key 3rd and 3 and 3rd and 11. Protecting the football was the best sign from the veteran signal caller.
Week 3 Grade: B-, Season Grade: C-, Trend: Slight Upward
Cam Akers: 65.0 (+2.7), Darrell Henderson: 55.3 (+2.0), Kyren Williams: IR, Jake Funk: DNP
While it is still far from where we would like the running game to be, Sunday was at least a step in the right direction, particularly for Cam Akers. Akers carried 12 times for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Come for the Cam Akers touchdown— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 25, 2022
Stay for WR Ben Skowronek playing Fullback and lead blocking against 6'4, 260 pound LB Zaven Collins for the score.pic.twitter.com/4hQ5lsEaZN
He did fumble late in the game which would have closed things out sooner. On 2nd & Goal from the ARI 1, Akers tried to extend for the goal line and the ball was knocked loose before he could get extended. McVay did not seem to invite the idea of benching Akers from the mistake, so the young running back should be free from the doghouse.
The running backs did split the offensive snaps 50/50, but Henderson did not see the same type of volume in touches. Hendo carried four times for 17 yards.
Week 3 Grade: B, Season Grade: C+, Trend: Slight Upward
Cooper Kupp: 89.4 (+1.7), Allen Robinson II: 60.9 (-1.1), Van Jefferson: IR, Tutu Atwell: 51.6 (-1.1), Bennett Skowronek: 57.4 (+5.8), Brandon Powell: 78.8 (+13.8), Lance McCutcheon: DNP
All things considered; it was a very quiet day for Eric Yarber’s receiving unit. Cooper Kupp only caught four receptions (six targets) for 44 yards. The do-it-all receiver did make the most of his one rush attempt, taking a jet sweep 20 yards for the Rams first touchdown. Kupp will likely be hard himself for this game as he did drop a Stafford dime that would’ve been another touchdown.
The Rams free agent acquisition Allen Robinson has not quite lived up to expectations thus far. Robinson only caught two receptions (five targets) for 23 yards. His “biggest highlight” was failing to catch a goal line slant in the first quarter.
Ben Skowronek continues to shine as a fullback out of 11 personnel. The Notre Dame seventh rounder led LA on offense with four receptions (four targets) and 66 yards. As a blocker, Benny Sko paved the way for Akers best game in 2022, and he also contributed this gem.
Cool note ahead of 49ers week: Ben Skowronek told me post-ATL (after learning he’d play the position that Weds) that he went through film clips of FB Kyle Juszczyk for inspiration/ideas on technique. A week later I’d say he’s settling in well. (Story screen shot from week 2) https://t.co/vcsfyAB4Ri pic.twitter.com/1tuOEJome9— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) September 26, 2022
Brandon Powell continues to make the most of his opportunities. It was his best game in a Rams uniform, contributing three receptions (three targets) for 27 yards. He provides great value in stretching the field horizontally. McVay dialed up pressure-beating screen plays to him, which is a significant sign that Powell is getting those plays over Tutu Atwell.
Van Jefferson was placed on the short-term IR and will return for Week 8.
Week 3 Grade: C+, Season Grade: B-, Trend: Very Slight Downward
Tyler Higbee: 63.6 (+0.7), Brycen Hopkins: 57.1 (SUS), Kendall Blanton: 94.7
Tyler Higbee put in another solid game as a secondary option in the offense. He tacked on four receptions (four targets) for 61 yards. The Rams continue to run the TE screen to Higbee to perfection at least once a game. I’m not the only who has noticed (*warning for explicit language in proceeding tweet*)
Every fucking week the Rams run like 2 or 3 TE screens and they gain like 20 yards every time I swear. They ran 2 to Higbee where he rumbled untouched for like 20 + yards. And ran another to Kendall Blanton who they just brought back off the street for like 30 yards yesterday.— Hobbes2d (@hobbes2d) September 26, 2022
Kendall Blanton returned to LA after being signed off Kansas City’s practice squad. He picked up right where he left off in the Conference Championship despite playing just five snaps. He added an explosive play, catching one reception over the middle for 28 yards.
Brycen Hopkins was suspended earlier in the week before the ARI game, incurring a three-game suspension.
Week 3 Grade: B, Season Grade: C, Trend: Slight Upward
Joe Noteboom: 68.7 (+7.1), David Edwards: 57.9 (+7.0), Brian Allen: 67.6 (INA), Coleman Shelton: 52.1 (-5.0), Rob Havenstein: 68.7 (-0.3), Alaric Jackson: 71.3 (+0.2), Tremayne Anchrum: 60.0 (IR)
The offensive line had a respectable performance. Joe Noteboom played his best game of the season at left tackle. David Edwards rebounded well after a couple of slow starts. Alaric Jackson has stepped in without missing a beat, allowing the offense to find synchronization. Coleman Shelton was the only lineman that struggled, drawing two penalties, a false start and holding call.
Week 3 Grade: B-, Season Grade: C, Trend: Very Slight Upward
HC (Sean McVay)
With a depleted roster due to soft tissue injuries and IR designations, McVay is showing that he isn’t just reliant on superstars to win. He and his staff are developing late round draft picks and undrafted free agents. It should be a positive sign that the LA Rams are 2-1 without the following: Kyren Williams, Van Jefferson, Brycen Hopkins, Brian Allen, Tremayne Anchrum, Logan Bruss, Travin Howard, Daniel Hardy, Troy Hill, David Long Jr, Cobie Durant, Jordan Fuller, and Quentin Lake. Not to mention, opposing teams spent the entire offseason game planning how to stop Los Angeles, particularly Stafford and Kupp. McVay has already found a way to counter that with “war daddy” Ben Skowronek at the fullback position. This team has yet to find its groove in offense and that could be a good thing as McVay’s team pursues a repeat.
Week 3 Grade: B, Season Grade: C+, Trend: Very Slight Upward
Stay tuned within the next 24 hours for the defensive PFF grades from Week 3 for the Los Angeles Rams roster overview!