Pro Football Focus Grading: Top St. Louis Rams Performers From Week 16


Dec 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) calls a play at the line against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The New York Giants defeat the St. Louis Rams 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Even with one of the ugliest opening halves of the regular season, the St. Louis Rams still found a way to keep the game interesting on Sunday against the Giants. However, in the end, the Rams couldn’t make enough stops and couldn’t score enough points to overcome the Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. Show. Still, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some solid individual performances. With that in mind, we turn our attention to Pro Football Focus, one of the most reputable sites for advanced statistics and players 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 16 evaluations as a reasonable metric for performance, how did some of the “key” St. Louis Rams units fair against the New York Giants?

Top Offensive “Skill” Player – Kenny Britt (+3.7)

For the first time this season, Kenny Britt has come out as the top graded player in the Rams offense. St. Louis’ top offseason pickup caught 9-of-10 targets for 103 yards, marking his third five-reception game and second 100+ yard game of the season. Since Brian Quick went down earlier in the year, Britt has stepped up as the Rams most consistent downfield threat. He should be one of Les Snead’s top re-signing priorities this offseason.

Top Offensive Lineman – Joe Barksdale (+1.4)

Before Joe Barksdale got tasked with playing right tackle and covering up Davin Joseph’s mistakes at right guard, he was regularly one of the top graded offensive tackles in the NFL. In fact, the drop after Rodger Saffold switched to the left side is pretty drastic. Yesterday, Barksdale held his own on the outside, easily graded out as the top offensive lineman for the Rams; actually, he was the only positively graded offensive trench player. He might not be a “great” right tackle, but is certainly a “good” one, particularly when he has adequate surrounding talent. The Rams would be wise to re-sign him to a decent contract, and move Saffold back to the right side where he belongs. Continuity.

Top Defensive Lineman – Robert Quinn (+1.6)

Two hits, one hurry, five tackles, and four defensive stops. That is the Robert Quinn that we all know and love. However, his most impressive stat might be forcing four penalties on one of the better offensive tackles in the league. William Beatty, consequently, was the lowest graded player for the New York Giants offense. He had only committed four total penalties all season before Sunday. If only the officials actually called the fouls against Robert Quinn more consistently…

Top “Back-Seven” Player – T.J. McDonald (+1.6)

Taking McDonald for what he is (i.e. a hard-hitting, box safety), you could argue that he has been one of the top strong safeties in the NFL this season. Setting aside his coverage snafu, the second-year defensive back filled up the stat sheet on Sunday, recording one sack, 10 tackles, and six defensive stops. It is a toss-up between McDonald and Alec Ogletree on who has the better “nose” for the football. However, having two ball hounds is a good problem to have…