STL-GB Grades: Packers defense smothers Foles, Rams
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Packers’ 24-10 win over the Rams.
St. Louis Rams
– DT Aaron Donald (+1.3) has definitely cooled off a bit after what was a ridiculously hot start. While this game was still positively-graded for him, thanks to three QB hurries and three solo stops, it wasn’t quite like some of his last few games. The Packers really schemed around him this week, double-teaming him seemingly every play, and running away from him every chance they could. They did a very good job of limiting the damage he could cause, and forcing the rest of the Rams’ defense to try and beat them.
– QB Nick Foles (-8.4) was dreadful this week, posting a -7.0 passing grade along with two delay of game penalties. He struggled under pressure, which is unfortunate since he was under pressure on 61 percent of his dropbacks. There, he went 5-for-17 for 110 yards and two interceptions. On his 13 attempts without pressure, he averaged a miniscule 2.4 yards per attempt, and also threw two interceptions. Even when you take away his throwaways, a spike and a time where he was hit as he threw, he still only completed 45.8% of his passes on the day. On a day where the defense came up big against a strong Packers’ offense, Foles really cost the Rams this game.
– The Rams’ offensive line was not doing Foles or their running game any favors this week. LG Jamon Brown was the worst of the bunch, posting a team-low grade of -8.7. That was thanks in large part to a -5.7 grade against the run. He was constantly beaten by the Packers’ interior defensive line, and rarely won any blocking battles. As a whole, the offensive line allowed three sacks, nine QB hits and nine additional hurries. The lone bright spot was RG Garrett Reynolds, who posted a +2.1 run block grade coming on in relief of injured RG Rodger Saffold (-5.1). Saffold managed to allow a QB hit and three QB hurries despite only being on the field for nine passing plays before being injured.
DE Robert Quinn (+3.1)
S Mark Barron (+2.2)
LB James Laurinaitis (+2.1)
S T.J. McDonald (+1.9)
DE William Hayes (+1.9)
Green Bay Packers
– QB Aaron Rodgers (-3.8) had an incredibly uncharacteristic bad game yesterday, posting his lowest passing grade since Week 12 of 2008. It wasn’t a case of too much pressure, as he only felt pressure on 23 percent of his dropbacks, but rather he just simply seemed off. His second interception was a great play by the defender, but a read and a throw Rodgers would love to have back. There was also a two-play sequence in the third quarter which began with Rodgers throwing the ball directly at the hands of a Rams’ defensive lineman, only to see him drop it. The very next play Rodgers held the ball in a bad spot with one hand, and was stripped. This seemed like an anomaly more than any kind of trend, but it was certainly strange to see Rodgers struggle like he did.
– The Packers defense played well, but RE Mike Daniels (+6.4) was on another level for this team. Almost every play, especially in the run game (+4.5 run defense grade), Daniels was getting involved. He made seven tackles, five of them stops, and also had two QB hits and a hurry. A lot of his work in the run game didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He consistently beat his block so quickly that the Rams’ running backs were forced to cut away from their intended hole, and try another non-designed direction. Daniels was the main reason that the Rams (not counting Gurley’s big 55-yard run) averaged only 3.9 yards per carry.
– The duo of Clay Matthews (+3.9) and Julius Peppers (+3.8) were a two-man wrecking crew when it came to rushing the passer in yesterday’s game. They each had identical grades of +4.2 in pass rushing, and together combined for three sacks, six QB hits and four additional hurries. On almost every third down play they were getting some kind of pressure on Rams QB Nick Foles. The Packers also had a nice contribution from LE Letroy Guion (+1.8), who managed one QB hit and two QB hurries on only eight pass rushes. It was a good day for the Packers pass rush, as they totaled four sacks, 13 QB hits and 10 QB hurries.
RE Mike Daniels (+6.4)
ILB Clay Matthews (+3.9)
OLB Julius Peppers (+3.8)
OLB Nick Perry (+2.6)
OLB Mike Neal (+2.3)