The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Washington Commanders in Week 15 to get back to .500 and take control of the seventh seed in the NFC. While they only won 28-20, the score was much closer than it should have been. Much of that had to do with self-inflicted errors. On offense, Kyren Williams’ fumbles took potential points off of the board. Meanwhile, on defense, Derion Kendrick gave up big plays late. Here is the week’s stock up, stock down.
Stock Up: LB Ernest Jones
Jones continues to be an underrated piece of the defense. On Sunday against the Commanders, Jones led the team in tackles which included two at the goal line during Washington’s final offensive possession. Jones’ tackles in that situation forced the Commanders continue to eat clock which played a critical role in the Rams eventually coming out with a win.
The Rams linebacker finished the week as the team’ highest-graded defended and was the fifth-highest graded linebacker in Week 15 according to Pro Football Focus. Jones continues to play well in his first year as the full-time starter
Stock Down: CB Derion Kendrick
In the final eight minutes of the game, Kendrick gave up a touchdown and long pass to Terry McLaurin that set up the Commanders at the one. He then had a pass interference penalty on fourth down to put Washington back on the one-yard line. Kendrick essentially gave up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
There are times where Kendrick shows flashes of his potential and that make you believe that if he can develop some consistency, he can be a solid second cornerback on a defense. The issue is, the consistency just isn’t there. There continue to be way too many negative plays. He has the “next play” mindset needed in a NFL cornerback. Unfortunately, the mistakes outweigh the positive plays.
Stock Up: WR Cooper Kupp
Following one of the worst stretch of his career, there were some conversations about Cooper Kupp’s future on the team. Those conversations weren’t necessarily wrong at the time and still may not be. With that said, the Kupp that everybody remembers has been back over the last few weeks.
Kupp finished with eight receptions for 111 yards and it was his 62-yard touchdown that gave the Rams a firm grasp on the game. Kupp and Stafford seem to be back on the same page which bodes well for a potential playoff run.
Stock Down: RB Kyren Williams
Williams is still without question one of the most important pieces of the Rams offense. While he still rushed for over 150 yards, his two fumbles weren’t what you want to see from your starting running back. Hopefully there’s nothing to be concerned about here moving forward.
With that being said, it’s still something that Williams will need to get cleaned up. Williams has proven that he can carry the load and be the guy. On Sunday, his positive plays outweighed the negative ones. In a closer game, he may not be so lucky.
Stock Up: S Quentin Lake
Over the past three weeks, the Rams had been without safety Quentin Lake and there were times where they definitely missed him. Lake was back in the lineup on Sunday and his presence was immediately felt. He finished with five tackles and two passes defended.
On the opening drive, Lake had a pass breakup that forced a Commanders three-and-out. He had another pass breakup in the end zone later later in the game. Lake was thrown back into the “star” role on defense and didn’t miss a beat.