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PFF Grades: Who were top performers in Rams stunning upset over Seahawks?

Matthew Stafford was “elite” in the win in Seattle

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Los Angeles put the NFL on notice during their Week 1 upset this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks.

Matthew Stafford was efficient and surgical. Young receivers Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua were consistent and effective throughout the afternoon.

It took awhile for the defense to find their footing, but they stifled Seattle in a scoreless second half. Aaron Donald is healthy and helped the pass rush take over late—making life very difficult for quarterback Geno Smith.

Here’s who stood out on each side of the football in terms of PFF grading:

Top five grades on offense:

1 - Matthew Stafford, QB: 91.1

LA’s franchise quarterback started the season on a high note, earning “elite” marks from PFF. Stafford recorded five big-time throws (12.5%) without a single turnover-worthy play. Rams receivers dropped three passes, including an on-target deep shot to Van Jefferson—so Stafford’s box score numbers could have been even more impressive.

2 - Puka Nacua, WR: 81.3

3 - Tutu Atwell, WR: 80.6

Nacua and Atwell played very well in Cooper Kupp’s absence. Nacua seemed to fill the Kupp role in the offense while Atwell got behind the defense for a 44-yard deep shot.

If these two receivers can sustain this level of performance once Kupp is back in the fold, this passing game looks downright potent.

4 - Brycen Hopkins, TE: 78.1

Hopkins played 23 total snaps as the Rams deployed more 12 personnel (one RB, two TE’s) looks than we are accustomed to seeing from them. The fourth-year tight end caught one pass for 21 yards on two targets.

He received a 90.0 (elite) receiving grade, but his overall mark was weighed down by a missed pass block on his only such rep.

5 - Coleman Shelton, C: 71.9

Shelton was the best individual offensive lineman on a day where Stafford was not sacked. He graded out well in both the run and pass games.

Other notes on offense:

The Seahawks aren’t exactly known for their edge rushers. Uchenna Nwosu mostly played on the same side as Rob Havenstein. With that said, Aleric Jackson earned a 88.5 (borderline elite) pass blocking grade at LT. He did not fare well in the run game, but Shelton was the only individual lineman to earn a grade higher than 60.0.

Van Jefferson was the lowest graded player on offense at 50.9. He played 75 total snaps (more than Nacua and Atwell), though he’s in danger of falling out of favor once Kupp returns if he doesn’t play better over the next few games.

Top five grades on defense:

1 - Russ Yeast, DB: 79.0

2 - Jordan Fuller, DB: 73.5

There wasn’t much to be had over the deep middle of the field, which speaks to an effectiveness in pass coverage by the safeties. The only touchdown score came on the outside when DK Metcalf was matched up one-on-one with CB Derion Kendrick.

Yeast was targeted only one time and did not allow a completion. Fuller was not targeted in coverage but had five tackles and two run stops.

3 - Kobie Turner, DT: 70.5

Turner was solid against the run and recorded two stops and a specific grade of 69.2. He also recorded two pressures and a sack on 20 pass rushing snaps.

4 - Aaron Donald, DE: 67.1

The grade is a bit lower than we are used to seeing from Donald. He did not seem to fare well against the run (60.2). The pass rush grading told a much different story, where he earned a mark of 75.0 and had five total pressures on 29 reps.

5 - Byron Young, ROLB: 66.3

Young struggled against the run as well (52.1) but impressed in both pass rushing (75.7) and even coverage (74.1). This fittingly matches his profile as an NFL Draft prospect.

Young had five total pressures on Geno Smith on 22 opportunities. He played five coverage snaps where he was targeted twice, allowing two completions for 7 yards and a passer rating of 81.3.

It was a good debut for the rookie and someone who is going to play a very important role for the Los Angeles defense.

Other notes on defense:

Kendrick gave up Seattle’s lone offensive touchdown to DK Metcalf. In total he was targeted five times, allowing two completions for 11 yards and the score. He also recorded a pass breakup—good for a passer rating in coverage of 87.5 and a grade in that facet of 62.4. His overall grade was 57.6.

Michael Hoecht earned an overall grade of 31.0. He fared OK in the pass rushing department (70.1; three total pressures on 17 reps) but struggled in every other facet. His run defense grade was 35.3. He missed two tackles on three opportunities, and he allowed two receptions in coverage for 13 yards (15 after the catch) and a passer rating of 93.8. He was dinged heavily for a pass interference penalty to round out a coverage grade of 28.5.