ReFo: Rams @ Chargers, Week 12
The Chargers came in looking to keep pace in the AFC West and re-build some momentum after ending a three-game slide last week. The Rams, on the other hand, hoped to break their recent pattern of stinging a formidable opponent and then following up by falling short the next time out.
What we got were a number of exciting moments in a competitive contest, some of which, unfortunately, were wiped away by the 17 penalties the teams combined for. The game came down to the final St. Louis drive and ended with the second game-changing goal-line interception of the day.
St. Louis Rams – Performances of Note
Aaron Donald, DT: +4.1
Breakdown: He’s received plenty of ink in his inaugural season already, but Donald turned in another performance that’ll keep him atop the rookie leaderboard. A sack and three other defensive stops highlighted his day but he spent the rest of it forcing runners off their paths and drawing double teams.
Signature Play: 2Q 12.31, Donald muscled Charger guard Johnnie Troutman aside and pounced on a shovel pass to secure the tackle for a loss.
Stedman Bailey, WR: +3.7 overall and Tavon Austin, WR: -0.7 receiving
Breakdown: You won’t often see mention of a receiver who posted a three-catch, 11-yard day in these reviews, but Austin’s contribution went beyond the typical for a wideout. With a first down and a score on his pair of end-arounds to go with an electrifying punt return late in the fourth quarter, he more than balanced. Bailey turned in more of a receiver’s receiving day, catching seven of nine balls he saw for 89 yards and a touchdown and securing those grabs against five different defenders.
Signature Play: 4Q 1:47, Austin’s late-game punt return set up the Rams’ final drive with a short field and could have done more damage if not for the flag that cut it short.
Greg Robinson, LT: -6.0
Breakdown: A rookie on the other side of things from Donald’s stellar season, Robinson has hit a rough run through the past month after moving to left tackle. His third red-graded game on the bounce saw him surrender four total pressures to go with three penalties as Dwight Freeney and Corey Liuget stole the most from him.
Signature Stat: Over the past four weeks, Robinson has taken home matching -7.1 grades in run and pass blocking and his -15.2 overall in that span is at the foot of the offensive tackle table.
San Diego Chargers – Performances of Note
Eddie Royal, WR: +2.4
Breakdown: After getting off to a hot start to the year, Royal’s grades had cooled until this week. Catching the six balls that came his way, the shifty receiver made good use of the short stems on the route tree and added to his game with some solid work picking up blocks in the run game, though he did also log a pair of penalties.
Signature Play: 4Q 15:00, deep in the San Diego end to open the fourth quarter, Royal took a screen pass and shook a pair of defenders before fighting through a third to earn a first down.
Eric Weddle, S: +2.9
Breakdown: Yet another productive day for out top overall safety, Weddle impacted the game across many fronts. With a hit and a batted pass as a pass rusher, seven tackles, just 5.3 yards per catch on the three he allowed, and a recovery on the blocked field goal, he made his presence felt.
Signature Stat: Weddle has now graded positively overall in nine of 11 games this season and ‘in the green’ (+1.1 or better) in seven.
Philip Rivers, QB: +0.1
Breakdown: It wouldn’t seem so on the face, but coming in right near the middling mark was a step the right way for Rivers after his past two efforts left him in the red. His early-season hot streak fell off in Week 9, but this efficient, though risk-averse outing could have him on track again. Hitting on 29 of 30 ‘aimed’ throws (with three throwaways, a batted pass and a spike counted out), he tried just three passes over 10 yards. His lone mis-fire, of course, was a costly one that was taken 99 yards the other way.
Signature Play/Stat: 4Q 10:55, converting a key third down, Rivers hit Ladarius Green on a ‘go’ route over close coverage by James Laurinaitis. His only deep shot connected when the team needed it.
PFF Game Ball
In a game without one player demanding the game ball, the consistent and varied effort of Eric Weddle earns him the prize for the victorious Chargers.
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