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PFF Grades: Alaric Jackson played pivotal role in LA’s third-straight win

Rookie Puka Nacua earned an “elite” grade for his performance versus Browns

Los Angeles Rams v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams are roaring back into the NFC playoff picture after blowing out the Cleveland Browns and moving back to .500. LA has now won three-straight games.

Who contributed the most on an individual level to keep the winning streak alive? Let’s take a look at the grades from Pro Football Focus (PFF):

Top five grades on offense:

1 - Puka Nacua, WR: 90.2

The rookie phenom broke the 1,000-yard mark on the season with an impressive 70-yard TD catch and run in the first quarter. He finished with four catches for 105 yards and added another 34 yards on the ground. It was yet another productive outing for Nacua, who now turns his sights to the NFL rookie receiving yardage record.

2 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 73.6

In his past two games, Stafford’s average depth of target (ADOT) had dipped down to around six yards. It was unclear whether this was a plan by the Rams to manage Stafford’s thumb injury or if this was a schematic pivot, but his ADOT ticked back upwards to 7.4 yards in this game. That again had an inverse and adverse impact on Stafford’s adjusted completion rate, which dropped to 70.6%. It’s worth keeping an eye on this mix moving forward, as it may be game plan specific.

All in all it was a positive outing for Stafford who finished with his most big-time throws in some time (3) and only had one turnover-worthy play. He completed 22 of 37 passes (60%) for 279 yards and three touchdown scores.

3 - Demarcus Robinson, WR: 73.2

Robinson has been more involved in the offense over the last two weeks, which seems to be coming at the expense of Tutu Atwell. LA has had the benefit of of salting away a fourth quarter lead, and it seems the plan is to substitute Robinson in for Atwell to give a bit more physicality in the run game. Robinson caught a touchdown pass at a critical moment in the game and finished with four receptions for 55 yards.

4 - Alaric Jackson, LT: 70.4

Jackson drew a difficult matchup in Myles Garrett no matter how limited Garrett may have been physical—he was rehabbing a shoulder injury leading up to the game. Jackson allowed only two pressures in pass protection. Rob Havenstein allowed a team-leading four for comparison.

5 - Cooper Kupp, WR: 65.8

While Kupp was largely ineffective in the passing game (he caught six passes for 39 yards and a score), he earned an impressive 77.7 run blocking grade. Even if Kupp is not producing at the level we expect from him through the air, it’s good that he’s still finding ways to contribute overall.

Other notes on offense:

One of the mainstays in terms of top five PFF grades on offensive is RG Kevin Dotson, but he had a rough outing in this game and finished with a 49.1 overall grade. He allowed two pressures in pass blocking but the struggles were mostly in run blocking. Rookie Steve Avila also had a disappointing game and had a 51.9 grade.

Top five grades on defense:

1 - Aaron Donald, DE: 84.8

Donald finished with a whopping eight pressures, tied for his most in a single game so far this season. He accomplished the same feat earlier this year against the Indianapolis Colts. Donald was consistently in the backfield and was the main disruptor of Joe Flacco while it was a relatively quiet pass rushing day for everyone else.

2 - Ernest Jones, MLB: 79.5

Jones had a very active date on defense and finished with a team-leading 15 total tackles according to the box score. PFF credited the linebacker with eight tackles and three assists. He forced four pressures on Flacco.

3 - John Johnson, DB: 72.6

The Browns targeted Johnson in coverage only a single time, and the veteran safety picked off Flacco and returned the ball deep into Cleveland territory to set up a game-clinching touchdown. It was sweet revenge against his former team that cut him two years into his big free agent contract, and Johnson has been coming on strong of late for LA.

4 - Kobie Turner, DT: 68.1

With four pressures, including two sacks (PFF does not credit “half sacks), Turner now has back-to-back games with multiple quarterback takedowns. The defensive tackle is now pushing to break Donald’s rookie sack record, which only signals that good things are in store for this promising individual.

5 - Keir Thomas, OLB: 67.0

Thomas played 15 snaps at outside linebacker. His playing time didn’t seem to come at the expense of Byron Young or Michael Hoecht, wo each played a similar number of reps—64 and 63, respectively.

Other notes on defense:

Russ Yeast had been a regular contributor on defense leading up to this game; however, veteran John Johnson has been emerging of late. Yeast played on 32 defensive snaps while Jordan Fuller and Johnson were on the field for every play (71 reps). Was this a game-specific plan or is Yeast potentially falling out of favor with respect to Johnson?