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PFF grades and notes from Rams’ loss to Eagles

Unfamiliar faces were top performers on defense

Philadelphia Eagles v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Rams have fallen to 2-3 on the season.

Things were really looking encouraging for LA through the majority of two quarters. The Rams scored with just over 30 seconds left in the first half to take a lead, but then CB Derion Kendrick incurred two penalties that setup the Eagles on the one-yard line. Jalen Hurts received a “brotherly shove” to punch the ball into the end zone and retook the lead before the half.

It was all downhill after that point for Los Angeles, as the Eagles ran off with the lead and never looked back. Matthew Stafford and the offense failed to find their footing in the final two quarters, though they had their opportunities on downfield shots but couldn’t connect.

Here’s who stood out in terms of grading by Pro Football Focus (PFF):

Top five grades on offense:

1 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 82.3

Kupp was awesome in his 2023 debut and hauled in 8 catches on 12 targets for 118 yards. He was open on a few additional long balls but couldn’t connect with Stafford.

2 - Kyren Williams, RB: 70.9

Williams was graded well in the pass blocking department (81.4) but it’s worth mentioning that he may deserve blame for the poor chip on Haason Reddick that resulted in the final sack on Stafford. Instead it seems PFF is crediting the blame to rookie OT Warren McClendon.

Williams ran 13 times for 53 yards (4.1 average) and added two receptions for four yards.

3 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 69.5

Stafford finished 21 of 37 for 222 yards, two touchdowns, four sacks, and a passer rating of 92.4.

PFF credited Stafford with two big-time throws (he led the NFL entering this game) and a turnover-worthy play. His adjusted completion percentage was 68.6 while his traditional mark was 56.8. The difference was three drops credited to Puka Nacua (two) and Tutu Atwell.

Stafford fell from the sixth-highest rated QB in PFF grade entering this week to seventh (prior to the night games on Sunday and Monday). Former Ram Jared Goff is currently ranked first.

4 - Rob Havenstein, RT: 69.1

Havenstein played well in pass protection but left early due to injury. That’s when McClendon came in at right tackle, and Stafford was taken down for a sack.

5 - Steve Avila, LG: 67.2

The Rams didn’t get much production in the running game, but LG Steve Avila fared well in this facet with a grade of 83.9. This was by far the best mark on the offensive line against the Eagles.

Other notes on offense:

C Coleman Shelton was in and out of the game with injury, but he struggled in pass protection. To be fair, he had a touch matchup in Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter—still, a mark of 2.3 is difficult to obtain. Shelton allowed four total pressures, which is second on the team behind Avila this week.

Top five grades on defense:

1 - Duke Shelley, CB: 84.9

Shelley filled in for Witherspoon who ended up coming back into the game, but it’s fair to wonder if the veteran could push for more playing time in the future. He’s always been a bit of a PFF darling and was the fifth-highest graded corner in all of football last season with the Minnesota Vikings. Shelley was cut by the Las Vegas Raiders before the start of the regular season and the Rams picked him up off the bargain bin.

It seems Shelley has jumped rookie Tre Tomlinson on the depth chart as well.

2 - Earnest Brown IV, DE: 81.3

Brown played only eight snaps but stood out positively in the run game (77.8).

3 - Zach VanValkenburg, OLB: 79.1

VanValkenburg was credited with his first career sack and had three total pressures in this game. Still, he graded out better in the run and recorded two run stops. Will he start pushing Michael Hoecht for playing time in the coming weeks?

4 - Ahkello Witherspoon, CB: 77.8

The veteran corner has played a role in all three of LA’s defensive takeaways so far this season, and he’s proving to be one of the most important individuals not named “Aaron Donald”. Could Witherspoon be on his way to proving he belongs on this team in 2024 and maybe beyond?

5 - Bobby Brown III, NT: 76.5

Brown injured his elbow in this game and then late also injured his knee. Sean McVay indicated that it doesn’t look good for the young nose tackle. He had two run stops.

Other notes on defense:

MLB Ernest Jones had four total pressures as an interior blitzer and was credited with an impressive six run stops. He struggled in pass coverage, allowing receptions on all four of his targets for 40 yards and a passer rating of 108.3.

OLB Michael Hoecht allowed four receptions on the same amount of targets for 65 yards and a passer rating of 118.8.

OLB Byron Young missed two of three tackle attempts and earned a tackling grade of 24.0. CB Cobie Durant also struggled in this facet and missed one of his three attempts, earning a mark of 28.5.