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

Rams PFF grades: Best and worst performers vs. Seahawks in Week 1

The Rams couldn’t have asked for a much better start to the 2023 season, coming out and crushing the Seahawks in the opener on Sunday, 30-13. They were dominant on both sides of the ball, outgaining the Seahawks, 426-180, in terms of yardage.

There were several players who put together standout performances against Seattle, some on each side of the ball. Matthew Stafford was sharp, Puka Nacua was a stud and Russ Yeast shined at safety.

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Pro Football Focus released player grades on Monday and we’ve broken them down by offense and defense, looking at the best and worst performers in the Rams’ win.

Top 5 offense

  • QB Matthew Stafford: 91.1
  • WR Puka Nacua: 81.3
  • WR Tutu Atwell: 80.6
  • TE Brycen Hopkins: 78.1
  • C Coleman Shelton: 71.9

It was a fantastic day for the passing offense on Sunday, largely thanks to Stafford, Nacua and Atwell. Stafford was incredibly accurate all afternoon, throwing for 334 yards on just 38 attempts. Nacua and Atwell each had 119 yards receiving, Nacua on 10 catches and Atwell on six.

Hopkins had a 21-yard reception in the game and while Tyler Higbee got most of the snaps at tight end, Hopkins made the most of his opportunities.

Shelton allowed two pressures but he was the Rams’ best run blocker, earning a grade of 69.5 in that department.

Top 5 defense

  • S Russ Yeast: 79.0
  • S Jordan Fuller: 73.5
  • DT Kobie Turner: 70.5
  • DT Aaron Donald: 67.1
  • OLB Byron Young: 67.1

Yeast surprisingly got the start over John Johnson III, who didn’t play at all, and was on the field for every snap. He didn’t allow a reception on his only target and in coverage, and he finished with two tackles in the win.

Fuller was also quite good, making eight total tackles with two solo stops and no targets in coverage.

Up front, Turner and Donald led the defensive line. Turner had two pressures and Donald had five, with Turner making two solo stops against the run. Each player had a half-sack.

Young tied for the team-high with five pressures and a half-sack, standing out in his NFL debut for the Rams.

Bottom 5 offense

  • RB Cam Akers: 64.3
  • LT Alaric Jackson: 62.9
  • RG Joe Noteboom: 60.7
  • WR Ben Skowronek: 54.2
  • WR Van Jefferson: 50.9

Akers was highly inefficient in this one, rushing for 29 yards on 22 attempts. He also didn’t catch a pass and wasn’t targeted.

Jackson may have been graded low on PFF’s scale overall but his 88.5 pass-blocking grade was the best on the team and ranks third among all players in Week 1.

Noteboom allowed one pressure and had a pass-blocking grade of 55.5.

Skowronek didn’t catch either of his two targets and Jefferson caught four passes for 24 yards, dropping one pass – a deep shot that may have gone for a touchdown.

Bottom 5 defense

  • DT Larrell Murchison: 57.2
  • NT Bobby Brown III: 41.3
  • LB Christian Rozeboom: 31.8
  • OLB Michael Hoecht: 31.0
  • OLB Zach VanValkenburg: 26.0

Murchison didn’t play much against the Seahawks so his low grade isn’t surprising. However, Brown was on the field for 19 snaps and didn’t record a single pressure or tackle.

Rozeboom allowed four catches on four targets for 31 yards and missed three tackles, struggling both against the run and in coverage.

Hoecht had three pressures but he missed two tackles and gave up two catches in coverage, also failing to set the edge a couple of times against the run.

VanValkenburg had one pressure in the 11 snaps he played.

Other notables

  • RB Kyren Williams: 68.1
  • LB Ernest Jones: 66.3
  • LG Steve Avila: 64.4
  • CB Cobie Durant: 62.9
  • CB Derion Kendrick: 57.6

Williams didn’t have an eye-popping performance but he did score twice and had 52 yards on 15 attempts.

Jones had nine tackles and missed one tackle attempt, also giving up three catches on four targets; however, those three catches totaled 9 yards.

Avila didn’t allow a single pressure in the game, the only Rams lineman that can say that. His 79.8 pass-blocking grade was 11th-best of any guard with at least 30 snaps in Week 1.

Durant and Kendrick had solid days, though Durant’s pass interference penalty early and Kendrick’s touchdown allowed to DK Metcalf were two blemishes. Durant wasn’t targeted in coverage other than that penalty, while Kendrick only gave up two catches on five targets for a total of 11 yards.

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