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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron DaSilva

Rams PFF grades: Best and worst performers vs. Bengals in Week 3

The Los Angeles Rams were able to stomach their loss to the 49ers a week ago, knowing San Francisco is one of the best teams in the league. Their loss to the Bengals on Monday night was much tougher to take. That’s a game the Rams should’ve won, but the coaching was poor and their execution was subpar, too.

Pro Football Focus released grades for each player in the Rams’ 19-16 loss Monday and they were predictably low for a number of players. The offensive line was a particularly big issue. Only one lineman recorded a grade above 60.0, and both Joe Noteboom and Zach Thomas had sub-36.0 grades.

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In total, the Rams gave up 20 pressures. Noteboom had a pass-blocking grade of 0.0 and Thomas’ was 8.6, showing just how poorly the offensive linemen played. Rob Havenstein and Coleman Shelton were the lone bright spots, but it was still far from perfect for them.

See the best and worst performers on offense and defense below.

Top 5 offense

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee
  • TE Tyler Higbee: 78.4
  • WR Tutu Atwell: 74.4
  • WR Puka Nacua: 71.1
  • QB Matthew Stafford: 67.1
  • WR Ben Skowronek: 66.0

Higbee was off to a relatively slow start this season but he came alive with five catches for 71 yards against the Bengals. He was good as a run blocker in limited opportunities, too, earning a grade of 67.6 in that department.

Atwell and Nacua both played well despite some struggles from Stafford, combining for nine catches and 121 yards and a touchdown. Neither player was pinned with a drop in the game.

Stafford’s grade was surprisingly high considering how poorly it seemed like he played. It’s partly because he was only credited with one turnover-worthy play and three big-time throws.

Skowronek played sparingly and caught his only target in the game.

Top 5 defense

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
  • DT Aaron Donald: 92.9
  • OLB Byron Young: 85.8
  • LB Ernest Jones: 80.7
  • CB Derion Kendrick: 72.6
  • DT Kobie Turner: 68.2

Donald was unblockable Monday night, recording seven pressures and five stops. He was by far the Rams’ most effective defender.

Young also had a good night, generating five pressures and five stops of his own. He seems to be getting better by the week, which is encouraging for a Rams team that’s lacking edge-rusher talent.

Jones made nine tackles and didn’t miss a single attempt, only allowing two catches on five targets, as well.

Kendrick was picked on often by the Bengals, but he gave up just two catches on five targets for a total of 19 yards with one pass breakup.

Turner had three pressures as an interior defender, a good number for the rookie.

Bottom 5 offense

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
  • WR Van Jefferson: 54.8
  • LT Alaric Jackson: 52.0
  • LG Steve Avila: 51.7
  • RG Joe Noteboom: 35.8
  • LT Zach Thomas: 22.8

Jefferson continued his quiet season, catching only one pass for 46 yards on three targets. He was once again the target on a Stafford interception, though it’s hard to blame him for that one.

As much as the Rams missed Jackson when he went down, he wasn’t perfect. He allowed three pressures in 14 pass-blocking snaps.

Avila had a tough night, as well, though he did lay a key block on Kyren Williams’ 20-yard screen pass.

Noteboom gave up six pressures in 42 pass-blocking snaps, earning a pass-blocking grade of 0.0. Yes, you read that correctly.

Thomas had a nightmare game against Trey Hendrickson and the Bengals, allowing five total pressures and two sacks. His pass-blocking grade was 8.6 – and no, it’s not out of 10.

Bottom 5 defense

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
  • DT Larrell Murchison: 51.0
  • S Quentin Lake: 47.4
  • CB Cobie Durant: 47.3
  • NT Bobby Brown III: 43.8
  • S Jordan Fuller: 37.7

Murchison and Brown were both pretty ineffective as pass rushers, each failing to record a pressure; Brown had one assisted tackle, while Murchison had none.

Lake allowed 30 yards in coverage, Fuller missed one tackle and was pegged with allowing 43 yards on Ja’Marr Chase’s long reception. It was a disappointing night for him, taking poor angles throughout.

Durant hasn’t had the breakout season many envisioned, allowing six catches on eight targets for 59 total yards. Like many other defenders, he also missed a tackle.

Other notables

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy) ORG XMIT: MOJR142
  • RB Kyren Williams: 59.2
  • CB Ahkello Witherspoon: 55.6
  • OLB Michael Hoecht: 55.0

Williams played every snap but had just 65 total yards on 12 touches. He was targeted seven times and had two catches, dropping one pass that nearly turned into a pick.

Witherspoon had one of the best interceptions you’ll see and only allowed three catches for 29 yards on nine targets, so his grade easily could’ve been higher.

Hoecht was ineffective as a pass rusher and even worse as a run defender, missing two tackles and recording just one pressure on the night despite playing 36 pass-rush snaps.

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