Not much went the Los Angeles Rams’ way in their Week 9 defeat to the Green Bay Packers. Brett Rypien and the offense was dysfunctional at best. Aaron Donald and the defense kept the game as competitive as they could, but ultimately the lack of points and production on the other side of the ball proved fatal.
The Rams move to 3-6 on the season and are circling the drain. It may be time to look forward to the 2024 offseason and NFL Draft.
Here’s who contributed to the losing effort on Sunday in terms of PFF grading:
Top five grades on offense:
1 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 69.8
LA’s star receiver was a focal point of the offense with seven targets, but he managed to only haul in two catches for 48 yards—the leading figure for the team on Sunday. Kupp also earned an impressive run blocking grade of 88.7.
2 - Kevin Dotson, RG: 67.4
The eye test suggested that the offensive line was overwhelmed based on the rushing production and lack of pass protection for Rypien; however, three linemen landed in the top five and in general the pass protection grades were fine. Dotson led the way for the group and is generally a part of the top five on a weekly basis. Dotson allowed only a single pressure on Rypien.
3 - Coleman Shelton, C: 66.3
Shelton did not allow a pressure in pass protection (84.8), but his offensive grade is weighed down by a less-than-stellar run blocking performance at 59.3.
4 - Demarcus Robinson, WR: 64.4
Robinson was targeted once and caught the pass for a 15-yard gain. The intent was to rotate him in the offense more since he had experience working with Rypien on the scout team and over training camp.
5 - Steve Avila, LG: 64.1
Avila allowed one pressure in pass protection (84.7). Similar to Shelton, his run blocking wasn’t good enough in this game (54.3).
Other notes on offense:
RT Joe Noteboom allowed a team-leading three pressures in pass protection but drew the most difficult matchup in OLB Rashan Gary. Noteboom and Alaric Jackson earned pitiful run grades at 37.1 and 37.8, respectively. That doesn’t bode well for a backup quarterback who was hoping to lean on a productive rushing attack.
Veteran TE Tyler Higbee (47.7 overall; lowest grade on offense) continues to struggle despite the team recently rewarding him with a contract extension. Sean McVay recently pointed out that Higbee is fighting through nagging injuries, but at some point you expect such a central piece of the franchise to contribute on a regular basis. The team needed Higbee to step up with Matthew Stafford out, and instead he faded into the back.
Top five grades on defense:
1 - Michael Hoecht, OLB: 72.5
Hoecht was given a bad reputation early in the season for allowing a number of downfield pass completions in his coverage, but this was really on the coaching staff for asking a former interior defensive lineman to cover some of the best pass-catching TE’s deep. Over the last few weeks, Hoecht has taken a step forward. He had two total pressures and forced two run stops.
2 - Quentin Lake, SCB: 71.9
The Rams are trying to take Derion Kendrick out of the starting lineup, but injuries to Cobie Durant have complicated their moves. Durant has been playing outside more with Lake filling his role inside. The second-year defensive back was targeted twice and allowed two receptions for eight yards against the Packers. He also had five tackles.
3 - Byron Young, OLB: 67.8
Young has consistently graded among the top five on defense across the season so far. He had only two pressures in this game (one was a sack on Jordan Love), but he played with a high motor and was all over the field—resulting in seven tackles for the rookie. Young also forced a fumble.
4 - Jordan Fuller, DB: 67.7
Jordan Fuller forced an important fumble while the Packers were driving in order to maintain hope for a struggling offensive unit. He was not targeted in coverage as both teams didn’t ask their quarterbacks to do much in this one.
5 - Ahkello Witherspoon, DB 67.1
Witherspoon was beat deep early in the game but Love missed his receiver on the throw. He allowed a completion on his other target for 17 yards. He had a stellar 78.2 tackling grade and had four tackles on the day.
Other notes on defense:
Ernest Jones’ absence due to injury loomed large on the defense. Reserve linebackers Christian Rozeboom, Jake Hummel, and Troy Reeder did not perform well in his stead—though this was a difficult offensive scheme to step in against. Hummel finished with a defensive grade of 29.2 on four snaps. Rozeboom played 53 snaps and earned a mark of 43.9 while allowing three receptions for 24 yards in coverage. Reeder was on the field for 44 snaps (44.5 defensive) and allowed four receptions on five targets for 58 yards and a passer rating of 154.6.