Pro Football Focus Grading: Top St. Louis Rams Performers From Week 8


Oct 26, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders entertain the crowd during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another loss on the St. Louis Rams schedule. However, instead of ripping out the hearts of fans by blowing a massive first half lead, the team opted to merely keep it close through two quarters, then get utterly destroyed in all facets of the game in the second half. With such a lopsided performance, it is difficult to find many team silver linings, let alone individual performances that could be considered “good,” by an reasonable person. However, that is exactly what we’ll attempt in this segment.

With that in mind, we turn our attention to Pro Football Focus, one of the most reputable sites for advanced statistics and player grading in the NFL.

Like with any semi-subjective form of analysis, the experts at the site are certainly not “perfect” in their weekly evaluations of players. However, taken with a grain of salt, their grades are about as close to “fair and objective” as you’ll find anywhere in the world of NFL personnel analysis.

So, using their Week 8 evaluations as a reasonable metric for performance, how did some of the “key” St. Louis Rams units fair against the Chiefs?

Top Offensive “Skill” Player – None

For the first time this season, no skill player on the St. Louis Rams finished with a “significantly” positive grade on the day. Players like Cory Harkey (+0.7), Benny Cunningham (+0.6), and Kenny Britt (+0.5)  managed “break even” performances, but, as expected, no one came out of the rubble with any shine on Sunday. Statistically, Britt led the receivers with 52 yards on two catches and Cunningham was the most effective of the running backs, managing 6.8 yards per attempt on a meager four carries.

Top Offensive Lineman – None

Not only did no skill player on the St. Louis Rams grade out positively, no offensive player at any position managed to finish the day “in the green.” Joe Barksdale graded out as the worst player on the entire roster Sunday. Jake Long tore his ACL and is done for the season. Davin Joseph, Greg Robinson, and Rodger Saffold all graded out in the Bottom 5 overall offensive players.

The only player who looked decent was Scott Wells… who was also injured during the game, and could very well be permanently replaced by Barrett Jones at the center spot.

Top Defensive Lineman – Robert Quinn (+3.5)

For the first time this season, Quinn managed to break out over Aaron Donald for the top defensive line grade of the week. The reigning Professional Football Writer of America’s Defensive Player of the Year finally looked like his old self, recording two sacks, four hurries, a forced fumble, and four defensive stops.

However, Quinn wasn’t the only one who managed a solid grade on Sunday. Kendall Langford, William Hayes, and Aaron Donald rounded out the Top 4 defensive players from Sunday, primarily for their stonewalling at the line of scrimmage. Unlike the brutes in the trenches, however, the second- and third-level defenders were not as efficient, eventually allowing the combination of Knile Davis and Jamaal Charles to break free in the second half.

Top “Back Seven” Player – None

None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Much like the offense, the St. Louis Rams linebacking and secondary corps were dreadful on Sunday, which was reflected in the grading this week. Alec Ogletree, EJ Gaines, and Jo Lonn Dunbar brought up the tail in the Bottom 3, with players like James Laurinaitis and T.J. McDonald not too far behind.

In his first start of the season, Marcus Roberson had a pretty average day, allowing only two catches for 10 yards. However, outside of some “did what was expected” grades, no non-defensive linemen played a game worth mentioning in a positive light.