BUF-LA grades: Bills RB LeSean McCoy impresses against Rams' defense
Buffalo Bills 30, Los Angeles Rams 19
Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Bills’ Week 5 win over the Rams in Los Angeles.
Quarterback Grade: Tyrod Taylor, 52.4
Mental errors limit Taylor’s grade versus Rams
It was an unusual day for Tyrod Taylor. The Bills quarterback had a passer rating of 115.7 on his 19 aimed passes, completing 12 of them and scoring twice. He did so without relying on the deep ball that has become a staple of his game, attempting just one pass over 20 yards in the air. Taylor was pressured on more than half of his dropbacks, and while he completed just 4 of 11 passes under pressure, two of those four put points on the board. Yet for all the good he did with his arm, it’s tough to excuse the mental lapse of lining up in the shotgun behind the left guard and calling for the snap, a play the Bills were lucky resulted in a loss of yardage rather than possession.
Top offensive grades:
FB Jerome Felton, 84.7
LT Cordy Glenn, 81.6
RB LeSean McCoy, 81.1
TE Charles Clay, 80.3
RG John Miller, 76.3
McCoy finds his legs against a stout L.A. defense
While the Bills’ offensive line battled the Rams’ D-line to a draw in the running game, LeSean McCoy had no trouble getting things going on the ground. Carrying the rock just 18 times, McCoy forced five missed tackles and amassed 150 rushing yards, his second game this year over the 100-yard mark. He’s still one of the most dynamic backs around, and one of the absolute best in space, as evidenced by his 53-yard scamper early in the second quarter. Some questioned the Bills when they traded for McCoy and subsequently hand him a lucrative extension, but that move looks like a steal when he puts up performances like this one.
Top defensive grades:
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, 95.0
LB Zach Brown, 91.4
OLB Lorenzo Alexander, 85.4
DE Adolphus Washington, 84.9
DE Kyle Williams, 80.0
Bills’ defense dominates against the run
Buffalo’s defense suffocated the Rams’ rushing attack for four quarters, with six different players earning above-average run-defense grades. Rookie DL Adolphus Washington had the best game of his young career, recording a pair of run stops and also adding a sack and a hurry as a pass rusher. ILB Zach Brown finished with three run stops and now leads all NFL linebackers in both overall grade and run-defense grade in a breakout season. OLB Lorenzo Alexander is enjoying a breakout season of his own, and finished the game with two sacks, a hit, two hurries and a batted pass. Alexander already has a career-high 7 sacks this season, and has teamed with OLB Jerry Hughes to form a potent pass rushing tandem on the edges of the Bills’ defense. SCB Nickell Robey-Coleman earned a game-best 95.0 overall grade due to his excellent day in coverage; Robey-Coleman was targeted three times, and finished with a pair of interceptions without allowing a completion.
Quarterback Grade: Case Keenum, 40.9
Keenum struggles under pressure
The Rams’ offensive game plan was built around the run game and underneath passes. QB Case Keenum attempted just nine passes of 10+ yards, and he struggled under pressure. Keenum finished two-for-eight for 57 yards with two interceptions when pressured, including an ugly pick six that broke a 16-16 tie in the third quarter. This was Keenum’s lowest-graded game since Los Angeles was shut out at San Francisco in Week 1.
Top offensive grades:
WR Tavon Austin, 76.5
WR Brian Quick, 73.5
WR Kenny Britt, 71.0
RG Jamon Brown, 64.6
TE Tyler Higbee, 51.4
Rams’ offensive line gives Gurley no room to work with
After an outstanding rookie campaign, Los Angeles HB Todd Gurley’s production has declined sharply this season, largely due to the poor performance of the Rams’ offensive line. Through five games, the Rams rank dead last in both overall offensive grade and in team run-blocking grade. Of the 73 NFL tackles with enough snaps to qualify, Rams starters Rob Havenstein and Greg Robinson currently rank 64th and 70th in run-blocking grade, respectively. All five starters and top backup Jamon Brown have below-average run-blocking grades for the season, and starting tight end Lance Kendricks ranks last of 58 qualifying NFL tight ends in the metric.
Gurley finished with 73 rushing yards against the Bills, 68 of which came after contact. He forced eight missed tackles, and now ranks eighth among NFL running backs in elusive rating. Gurley also fumbled twice, losing one. Los Angeles planned to build their offense around Gurley’s rushing ability this season, but the poor run-blocking in front of him and lack of other offensive playmakers have made it too easy for opposing defenses to slow the Rams down.
Top defensive grades:
DT Aaron Donald, 84.7
DE Ethan Westbrooks, 78.2
CB Lamarcus Joyner, 78.1
CB Trumaine Johnson, 77.9
DT Dominique Easley, 76.7
Defensive line is boom or bust
Los Angeles sports one of the most terrifying defensive lines in football, but with Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and William Hayes all inactive, the unit never had a chance to live up to its high standards. Aaron Donald graded out at “only” 84.7, and defensive end Ethan Westbrooks played a strong game, but the two were responsible for nearly half of the team’s pressure. Pittsburgh and San Diego cast-off Cam Thomas generated a single pressure and failed to record a single tackles, while Eugene Sims was blanked as a pass rusher on 22 pass-rushing snaps.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Bills OLB Lorenzo Alexander
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