Pro Football Focus Grading: Top St. Louis Rams Performers From Week 12


Nov 23, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) walks off the field after throwing an interception in the end zone in the closing second of a 27-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Ouch. That last play might sting for  a while for those in Rams Nation hoping that the squad might sneak their way into one of the Wild Card spots in the NFC. Setting aside the realization that the playoffs are officially out-of-reach, we should turn our focus towards improving and progressing through the remainder of the season.

While there were some obvious not-to-solid performances from the Rams, particularly in the linebacking corps and on the offensive line, there were some individuals that stood out on Sunday. 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 12 evaluations as a reasonable metric for performance, how did some of the “key” St. Louis Rams units fair against the Chargers?

Top Offensive “Skill” Player – Stedman Bailey (+3.7)

Stedman Bailey finally broke out of his 2014 shell on Sunday, at least as much as you can “break out” with a backup quarterback in a conservative offense. Bailey caught seven of this nine targets for 89 yards and a touchdown. The other Mountaineer receiver was the best player in the Rams offense, catching critical pass after critical pass, including having to re-do his 4th quarter touchdown grab after the first was called back. Every week, a new Rams receiver shows they can play in the offense. It is truly shaping up to be a nice receiving corps for whoever is throwing the football to them next season. Jameis Winston, anyone?

Top Offensive Lineman – Davin Joseph (+4.6)

Wait, what? For the majority of the season, Joseph has been one of the worst (if not the worst) player in the St. Louis Rams offense. That was not the case yesterday, with Pro Football Focus grading Joseph positively as both a run blocker and pass protector. Joseph was particularly impressive on pulling plays, showing off some athleticism that we simply have not seen so far this season. Maybe, the new hair cut is working?

Top Defensive Lineman – Aaron Donald (+3.6)

Another week, another top performance for Aaron Donald, who is currently ranked No.2 overall among interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Yesterday, Donald managed one sack, four tackles, and four defensive stops, adding to an already impressive season-long stat sheet. If Aaron Donald isn’t in Hawaii, there is a problem…

Top “Back-Seven” Player – Trumaine Johnson (+1.0)

Janoris Jenkins was the best defender on the field yesterday, despite the grading. Jenkins was unfortunately caught up in the Chargers heavy screen game against the Rams, and saw his outstanding coverage pulled down by a negative run defense grade. However, not only did the third-year stud score his fifth career pick-six, he also forced a critical fumble. Jenkins-haters will continue to lambaste the cornerback for his propensity to jump routes, but fail to give him his due when he makes the game-changing plays he was drafted to make. Jenkins leads the league in defensive touchdowns over the last three seasons. Enough said.