There’s not much that went wrong for the Los Angeles Rams in their 37-14 blowout win over their NFC West divisional rival Arizona Cardinals. LA was dominant on the ground, rushing to the tune of 228 yards and an overwhelming seven yards per carry. The defense frustrated Kyler Murray with four sacks and consistent pressure.
Here’s who stood out on an individual level in terms of Pro Football Focus (PFF) grading:
Top five grades on offense:
1 - Kevin Dotson, RG: 92.2
Dotson earned an impressive 90.5 run blocking grade and paved the way for Kyren Williams’ and Royce Freeman’s monster days running the football. The recently acquired veteran has been LA’s top lineman this year and is consistently graded in the top five of the Rams’ offensive players. Dotson did not allow a single pressure in 34 pass blocking reps.
It’s time to pay that man, Les Snead and Sean McVay.
2 - Kyren Williams, RB: 84.3
Williams rushed 16 times for a whopping 143 yards (8.9 average) and tacked on another six catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He’ll finish both contests against the Cardinals this season with a total yardage output of 362. It’s also worth mentioning that Williams had a decent day in pass protection and earned a mark of 78.3 in that facet.
Kyren Williams did not miss a beat!— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) November 27, 2023
204 yards and 2 TDs in just over 3 quarters of work.
William displayed everything you ask for in a RB. Burst, strength, decisiveness, vision, and determination!
No great runner does it alone though. Hats off to the convoy of blockers pic.twitter.com/3moq6da6Z8
3 - Tutu Atwell, WR: 84.2
Atwell set the tone for LA’s offense early with a 42-yard reception on third down. He made a couple other intermediate catches and finished the game with three receptions for 76 yards (average of 25.3). Aside from Williams, Atwell was the Rams’ most productive receiver on Sunday as Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua were held to a measly seven receptions for 45 yards total. The Los Angeles offense is better when Atwell is involved.
The Rams replaced Atwell in the first-string lineup with Demarcus Robinson late in the game, though this was probably to help run the football and salt away the game clock. Atwell played only 24 snaps while Robinson was in for 40.
4 - Rob Havenstein, RT: 79.4
5 - Alaric Jackson, LT: 78.0
Havenstein and Jackson surrendered only two and three pressures, respectively, on a day where Matthew Stafford was pressured only seven times total. C Coleman Shelton allowed the other two pressures while LG Steve Avila and Dotson had a clean performance.
Other notes on offense:
While this was Matthew Stafford’s best statistical performance in 2023, the PFF grades were not as kind to the veteran. Stafford’s grade of 68.2 was his third-lowest mark on the season which is unusual considering the Cardinals’ defense was not getting much pressure on the signal caller.
Stafford was awarded only a single big-time throw and was not knocked with a turnover-worthy play despite throwing an interception just before the half. His adjusted completion percentage of 83.9% was his second-best on the year and ranks only behind his last game against Arizona (84.2%). His next closest came in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers at 77.6%.
This game does continue a concerning trend where Stafford’s rate of big-time throws is decreasing from his early season production.
Your weekly Matthew Stafford INT: pic.twitter.com/BaW0k7UbmO— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) November 26, 2023
Top five grades on defense:
1 - Jordan Fuller, DB: 90.5
Fuller was credited for a team-leading four pass breakups and allowed only two receptions for 14 yards on six targets. This was good for a passer rating of 42.4. Murray and the Cardinals routinely challenged the Rams defense deep, but Fuller was often in position to make a play on the ball.
2 - Ahkello Witherspoon, CB: 88.4
While Witherspoon has struggled of late, he bounced back in a big way against a slight but fast Arizona receiver corps. He recorded three pass breakups of his own and was targeted seven times through the air—allowing only two catches for 23 yards and a passer rating of 40.8.
3 - Derion Kendrick, CB: 82.6
Kendrick has now strung together two solid performances after being benched prior to the teams’ bye week. The second-year corner picked off Murray late in the game on a two-point conversion try and he allowed receptions on both of his targets for just nine yards. More concerning is the fact that PFF docked Kendrick for two missed tackles and gave him a grade of 37.7 in that department.
4 - John Johnson III, DB: 82.1
The Rams deployed Fuller closer to the line of scrimmage in this game (12 snaps in the box, five in the slot), which meant that Johnson played mostly free safety (49 reps versus 13 closer to the line). With Quentin Lake ruled out for this game with a hamstring injury, Russ Yeast (27 slot snaps) and Cobie Durant (31 slot snaps) replaced him in the slot.
Johnson had two pass breakups and allowed just one reception on three targets for 14 yards.
5 - Jake Hummel, MLB: 77.6
Hummel came in towards the end of the game with the reserve players. Still, he stood out when given the opportunity and was strong in coverage. Hummel allowed three receptions on three targets for 18 yards.
Other notes on defense:
Kobie Turner (75.0), Bobby Brown (70.5), and Aaron Donald (70.0) played well along the defensive line but not quite good enough to crack the top five grades on defense. The vast majority of LA’s pressure on Murray came from Donald (7) and Turner (5), though Turner finished with two sacks and Donald’s only box score impact was a single tackle. Rookies Byron Young and Desjuan Johnson also recorded two pressures each.