Grades for Rams-Colts
Here are the top takeaways from Friday’s Rams-Colts, including the highest-graded players for each team:
St. Louis Rams
– If you need three plays to tell you just how good Aaron Donald (+4.9) is, go watch the three plays beginning at 12.42 remaining in the 2nd quarter. His burst off the line is unmatched, and for these three plays in particular, just like much of his career so far, he set up camp in the opposing backfield. Three tackles resulting in a defensive stop, two of them for loss, back to back, to back. It’s scary to think how good he is so early in his career, and he’s going to be fun to watch in 2015.
– On an efficient night at quarterback for the Rams new signal caller, Nick Foles (+2.1) was perfect on passes up to nine yards downfield. He was one for two on throws between 10 and 19 yards, but his throw of the night came downfield. On 1st-and-10 with 10:26 remaining in the 2nd quarter he hit wide receiver Chris Givens perfectly in stride for a touchdown. It was his best showing of the preseason, and will give Rams fans optimism heading into 2015.
– The 2015 preseason hasn’t been kind to Rams left tackle Greg Robinson (-2.7) and Saturday night was no different. The second-overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft was beaten for a hit and two hurries from just 16 plays in pass protection, and didn’t look great against the run either. He struggled as a rookie, and this preseason hasn’t boosted anyone’s faith that he’s ready to turn the corner yet.
Top 5 graded players
DT Aaron Donald (+4.9)
OLB Akeem Ayers (+2.9)
G Travis Bond (+2.4)
S T.J. McDonald (+2.5)
QB Nick Foles (+2.1)
–On a night where plenty of players stood out on the Colts defense, none impressed as much as linebacker Erik Walden (+3.7). He showed a quickness off the edge that was too much for rookie right tackle Rob Havenstein, beating him for two sacks and getting the better of him to force a cut on a run as well. He hasn’t delivered since arriving in Indianapolis, so performances like this need to become much more consistent for him to really help out that Colts defense.
–We thought the Colts got something of a steal in Henry Anderson (+2.5), and he showcased the ability that inspired that thinking on Saturday night. His best performance of the preseason so far, Anderson was active against the run as he picked up a defensive stop and also forced several cuts. With big free agent signings of the past like Arthur Jones struggling, there’s a real opportunity here for Anderson to claim some early starting time in Indianapolis.
–One big concern for the Colts coming out of Saturday night was the play of their starting offensive line (-11.0 combined), with only right tackle Jack Mewhort finishing with a positive grade. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo (-3.6) was the worst offender, giving up a hit and a hurry in pass protection and being bullied against the run.
Top 5 graded players
OLB Erik Walden (+3.7)
LB Junior Silvestre (+2.9)
DE Henry Anderson (+2.5)
OL Denzelle Good (+2.1)
RB Tyler Varga (+1.7)