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Rams PFF grades: Byron Young, Aaron Donald were disruptive against Cardinals

Matthew Stafford had an “elite” performance on the offensive side

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams took care of business this weekend by defeating the Arizona Cardinals and moving to a 3-3 record on the 2023 season. LA is squarely in the middle of the NFC West race as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks both found themselves in the losing column in Week 6.

LA’s offense sputtered out of the gate, but they came into the second half with a renewed effort to run the football. Big plays in the passing game via the Matthew Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection helped put scores on the board. On the other side, Raheem Morris’ defense kept Josh Dobbs and the Arizona offense out of the end zone.

It was a total team effort to get the home win. Let’s look at who stood out on an individual level in terms of PFF grading:

Top five offensive grades:

1 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 90.0

Stafford earned an “elite” mark in this game and completed 15 of 24 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. He had two other potential scores dropped by rookie WR Puka Nacua and TE Tyler Higbee.

Overall, the veteran had four big-time throws against Arizona which was his second-highest output of the season. He led the NFL in such throws coming into this game and should hold onto his top spot. Stafford had no turnover-worthy plays and had a clean effort. His adjusted completion percentage of 84.2 was by far the highest he’s had this year.

2 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 87.0

Kupp caught 7 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown while accounting for nearly two-thirds of the team’s receiving production. It was a dominant effort for the star receiver and his chemistry with Stafford was on display in this one.

3 - Kevin Dotson, RG: 86.1

Dotson has been a top guard in the NFL so far this season and currently ranks 12th of 83 players that have at least 83 snaps under their belt. The Rams acquired him just before the start of the season without giving up much in the way of draft capital. Joe Noteboom—who entered the season as the starting RG—should be fully healthy soon but LA should stay the course and keep Doston in the lineup.

4 - Kyren Williams, RB: 84.8

Williams had 20 carries for 158 yards (7.9 average) and a touchdown. He was not as active in the passing game as we are used to seeing from him.

Still, it was an impressive day for the second-year back and he ran as physically as we’ve ever seen from him—including an angry run at the goal line where he stiff armed a defender in the backfield and then ran through a pack of three Cardinals to break the plane.

5 - Rob Havenstein, RT: 82.7

The right side of the line fared well in run blocking. Havenstein has been very reliable for Los Angeles and usually only runs into trouble when facing the more elite pass rushers in the NFL. This was certainly one of his stronger performances.

Other notes on offense:

Interestingly, it was a stark drop in the grading between the fifth-highest player and the next in Tutu Atwell (62.7). Coleman Shelton and the left side of the offensive line fared well in pass blocking grades—all were 69.2 or better—bet did not grade out well in run blocking despite Williams racking up 158 yards and averaging 7.9 yards per carry.

Top five defensive grades:

1 - Byron Young, OLB: 87.3

Young had five total pressures including a strip sack on Josh Dobbs. He was also active in the run game and recorded four stops.

This was probably the most complete effort we’ve seen from the rookie. He’s flashed at times as a pass rusher, but he was consistently disruptive in this game.

2 - Aaron Donald, DE: 85.2

Donald led the defense with seven total pressures, though his run grade (84.9) finished notably higher than his pass rushing mark (74.9). The star defensive end had three stops. Donald ranks fifth in the NFL in total pressures on the season and is behind only Maxx Crosby, Aidan Hutchinson, Bryce Huff, and Chase Young.

3 - Ernest Jones, MLB: 82.5

The man in the middle of LA’s defense had an active day with 10 tackles and an impressive run defense grade of 90.7. Jones was targeted twice in coverage and allowed just one completion for nine yards (14 came after the catch point).

4 - Cobie Durant, SCB: 81.4

Durant has struggled at times this season, but this was his strongest came yet in the 2023 campaign. He was targeted only twice in coverage and allowed a single reception for 17 yards with two pass breakups. The second-year corner has a slight frame and can sometimes have issues tackling, but he graded out well with a mark of 82.1.

5 - Jordan Fuller, DB: 80.0

Fuller was targeted six times and allowed only two catches for 13 yards and a passer rating of 42.4. He also had five tackles and aligned in the box on 12 plays—so he was involved in the game as more than a deep coverage player.

Other notes on defense:

Three other members of the defensive line also had a strong effort. Rookie DT Kobie Turner had an overall grade of 77.6 (sixth). DE Jonah Williams (76.8; seventh) had a key sack that took the Cardinals out of field goal position. Michael Hoecht (74.7; eighth) was tied with Young with five total pressures and hit the quarterback twice. He was targeted twice in coverage—which has been a complaint by fans—and allowed two receptions for 21 yards (20 after the catch).