PFF Preview: Rams @ Chargers, Week 12
The St. Louis Rams (4-6) are coming off a victory that might have been the biggest upset of Week 11 against the Denver Broncos. They will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers (6-4) who ended their three-game losing streak with a win over the Oakland Raiders last week.
The Rams’ defense held Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense a mere seven points last week and will hope to contain the Chargers’ offense just as well. St. Louis’ defensive line has been a strong point of their season, and it appears defensive end Robert Quinn has hit his stride accumulating a +11.7 grade over the last four games. Against the Broncos he was able to create pressure six times and register two batted passes on his way to his best game of the year in rushing the passer (+4.0).
Getting pressure on Philip Rivers without blitzing may be the key to beating the Chargers. Over the last three games, Rivers’ best rating when teams did not blitz was an even 0.0. His worst rating when the opposition did not blitz came against the Dolphins in Week 9 where he threw three interceptions and posted a -4.2. The Dolphins blitzed on nine of Rivers’ 27 drop-backs, and when they did Rivers had a +1.1 rating. Even though the Chargers came away with a victory against the Raiders, Rivers had a -1.6 when the Raiders did not blitz compared to his -0.4 when they did. Rivers completed all nine of his passes against the blitz, but was 13 of 25 on plays the Raiders did not blitz.
If the Rams are able to get pressure on Rivers with Quinn and the rest of their front-four it appears they will have the advantage, but if they are forced to blitz Rivers to get pressure on him, the tables may be turned. Here are some other players to watch in this game.
St. Louis Rams
Aaron Donald – A front-runner for Rookie of the Year, Donald has been the second-best defensive tackle in the league overall (+21.6), and third-best against the run (+13.4).
E.J. Gaines – Inconsistency has been an issue, but Gaines is currently one of just two rookie cornerbacks with green grades in both coverage and run defense (along with San Diego’s Jason Verrett).
Kenny Britt – Britt was the primary deep threat in Week 11 when three of his seven targets were more than 20 yards downfield. Britt accumulated 96 receiving yards on deep passes.
San Diego Chargers
Brandon Flowers – When only including the weeks that Flowers has played this year he ranks second in the league overall +13.1, which shows how effective he can be when healthy.
Melvin Ingram – Ingram returned to the Chargers’ starting line-up after overcoming a Week 2 injury and made an impact rushing the quarterback. He finished with three pressures on 25 pass rush attempts.
Malcolm Floyd – Although Floyd hasn’t been flashy, he has been consistent catching fewer than three passes in only one game and less than 50 yards in two.
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