Pro Football Focus Grading: Top St. Louis Rams Performers From Week 9


Nov 2, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) fumbles the ball against the St. Louis Rams during the fourth quarter at Levi

For Rams Nation, Sunday was a roller coaster of emotion, with Austin Davis and Co. struggling to get anything going offensively, but, for once, Robert Quinn and Co. having their way against a stout San Francisco offensive line. Where the offense had been the “bright spot” for much of the season, the Rams defense stole the show last weekend, culminating in a forced fumble on a goal line stand with :02 seconds left on the clock.

While there were obviously a number of units that stood out on Sunday, there were also a handful of individual performers that deserve some recognition. 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 9 evaluations as a reasonable metric for performance, how did some of the “key” St. Louis Rams units fair against the 49ers?

Top “Skill” Position Player – Johnny Hekker (+4.5)

Much like the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, there were zero offensive skill players that recorded a significantly positive grade on Sunday. However, instead of harping on the negative, we’ll glance over at the man who was most effective getting the ball “down the field”; Johnny Hekker. Much of the second half was a field position chess match between two floundering offenses. Hekker was the “queen” in that board game, booming six kicks for an impressive 46.8 average, including landing two inside the 20 yard line.

Top Offensive Lineman – Rodger Saffold (+1.0)

The injury-prone, uber-versatile lineman was the only offensive player to record a decently positive grade on Sunday. From his left guard spot, Saffold closed off the interior, while Greg Robinson man-handled the outside; the duo allowed only one total pressure against Justin Smith on the 49ers’ “blitz heavy” side. On the season, Saffold has allowed only 11 total pressures, with three of those coming in the Rams dreadful season opener. His move to the interior certainly seems to be working…

Top Defensive Lineman – Robert Quinn (+3.8)

UNLEASH THE KRAKEN! After managing zero sacks through the opening five weeks, Quinn has turned up the heat in the last month, recording five sacks in three games. Yesterday, against an All-Pro offensive tackle, “Black Lightning” managed two tackles, three defensive stops, and four pressures, including two sacks and a forced fumble. However, to be fair, the entire defensive line was rolling yesterday, with six different players recording at least one sack, including one from every starter in the front-four.

Top “Back-Seven” Player – Alec Ogletree (+5.3)

After being “benched” in the latter half of the Kansas City Chiefs blowout, the Rams second-year outside linebacker responded with arguably his best all-around performance this year. Ogletree played all 71 of St. Louis’ defensive snaps, finishing with the highest run defense and pass coverage grade on the team. In fact, in 37 coverage snaps, Ogletree allowed only one reception for five total yards, and managed to stay penalty-free, despite being on the field for (what seemed like) the entire game. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the young defender.