STL-CLE Grades: Gurley shows value in Rams' win
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Rams’ 24-6 win at home against the Browns.
St. Louis Rams
– Quarterback Nick Foles (-0.4) wasn’t forced to do much with the football, thanks largely to Todd Gurley (+4.7) and the Rams’ defense. While Foles didn’t make any interception-worthy throws, he didn’t have any particularly great passes, outside of one deep pass to Kenny Britt (0.4), either. When Foles was under pressure, he only managed to complete 42.9 percent of his passes; when he had a clean pocket to work from, that rose to 75.0 percent and 141 yards.
– First-round pick Todd Gurley (+4.7) showed why the Rams where willing to break the trend of not drafting a RB high. Gurley forced 11 missed tackles in the run game, which is the highest amount by any runner on running plays this season. To go along with his missed tackles, Gurley averaged 5.8 yards after contact per attempt, gaining over 100 yards alone after contact.
– The Rams’ defensive line was expected to cause the Browns trouble, and they did, but it came from the unexpected duo of William Hayes (+5.1) and Ethan Westbrooks (+3.7); both did most of their damage versus Mitchell Schwartz (-4.7), who, up to this point, was having a good season. Between both Westbrooks and Hayes, they recorded three sacks and seven hurries (not all against Schwartz).
DL William Hayes (+5.1)
RB Todd Gurley (+4.7)
DL Ethan Westbrooks (+3.7)
CB Janoris Jenkins (+3.1)
CB Lamarcus Joyner (+2.0)
– Josh McCown (-0.8) did not push the ball downfield, outside of one pass that was called back due to a hold. McCown did not attempt a single pass over 20 yards, and only seven of his 32 pass attempts went beyond 10 yards. McCown was very accurate with his targeted passes; out of his six incompletions, only three of those resulted from poor throws. While McCown only missed on three passes, he did very little with the throws he made, because the Browns where consistently in long down and distance; the Rams gave up the short play and consistently made the tackle short of the sticks.
– First round pick Danny Shelton had the best game of his young career. While nothing showed up on the stat sheet, he was able to take on blockers and cause issues in the middle, forcing very little success when the point of attack was either middle-left or middle-right; the Rams only gained 17 yards on these two points of attack.
– With the Browns’ passing attack struggling to push the ball down the field, rookie RB Duke Johnson (+2.6) had room to work out of the backfield. Johnson averaged 10 yards after the catch, working well to find creases in the Rams’ defense. The only other player who had any success in the passing game was Gary Barnidge (+2.4). Barnidge gained 101 yards on six receptions. Seemingly the norm now with Barnidge, the tight end was able to come down with another great catch. On a pass that was overthrown, he was able to tip the ball up to himself to gain 20+ yards.
DL Randy Starks (+4.3)
P Andy Lee (+2.6)
SS Donte Whitner (+2.4)
TE Gary Barnidge (+2.4)
LB Chris Kirksey (+1.5)