LA-ARI grades: Rams defense shines in victory

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Rams' win over the Cardinals.

| 9 months ago
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

LA-ARI grades: Rams defense shines in victory

Los Angeles Rams 17, Arizona Cardinals 13

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Rams’ 17-13 victory over the Cardinals.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarterback grade: Case Keenum, 54.8

Keenum excellent when kept clean

Arizona threw several blitz packages and stunts at Case Keenum and the Rams’ offensive line, forcing the fourth-year signal caller from Houston into multiple errant throws resulting in a passer rating of 39.6. However, when the rush couldn’t get to Keenum, the Rams’ QB made the Cardinals’ defense pay as he connected on 17 of 22 passes for 261 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 146.2. Keenum didn’t favor any one particular area of the field as he spread it around to six different receivers with five of them getting five or more targets.

Case Keenum under pressure versus the Cardinals:


Top offensive grades:

TE Lance Kendricks, 77.1
WR Kenny Britt, 74.9
WR Brian Quick, 74.1
C Tim Barnes, 69.1
HB Todd Gurley, 63.9

Rams’ OL dreadful in both phases of the game

It didn’t matter whether the Rams were passing or running — the offensive line, in particular the offensive tackles, couldn’t hold their ground for many of the plays. LT Greg Robinson was especially poor with a game grade of 30.0 as he allowed a sack, three hurries, flagged twice, and allowed multiple tackles in the run game. RT Rob Havenstein (37.2) and RG Cody Wichmann (40.3) didn’t fare much better as they both struggled to block anyone.

Top defensive grades:

CB Trumaine Johnson 90.1
DT Aaron Donald 89.2
CB E.J. Gaines 85.9
S Maurice Alexander 72.8
DE Robert Quinn 72.2

Rams defense continues to cause havoc

The Rams continue to be a joy to watch on defense, and a nightmare for opposing offenses to go up against. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson had his highest-graded game of the season and beat out Aaron Donald for top graded defensive player, which is a feat in its own right. He was targeted 12 times giving up only five catches to go along with two passes defensed and an interception. Carson Palmer had a 25.0 QB rating when throwing in his direction. He also stuck his nose in run defense recording two stops. After not recording a sack so far this season, Aaron Donald recorded two of them, he also had four quarterback hits and two QB hurries as he continues to be virtually unblock-able for opposing offenses bringing his tally to 11 QB hits on the season.

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback grade: Carson Palmer 56.9, Drew Stanton 39.1

Palmer exits late after being under duress all game

QB Carson Palmer left late in the fourth quarter with a possible concussion after being pressured all game by the Rams’ stout defensive front. He was under pressure on 14 of his 26 drop backs, was sacked three time as well as being hit four times. He was beat up all game but found success while he had some time in the pocket as he completed 18 passes for 218 yards. Palmer was inconsistent and inaccurate at times throughout the game, forcing some throws into tight coverage and could’ve been burned once more on top of his lone interception, as Trumaine Johnson jumped an out route intended for John Brown but was unable to make the fingertip catch. 

Top offensive grades:

WR John Brown 82
WR Larry Fitzgerald 75.6
RT D.J. Humphries 74.2
C A.Q. Shipley 72.7
TE Darren Fells 69.4

John Brown has his best game thus far

John Brown had arguably his best game since Week 6 of last season against the Steelers when he finished with 196 yards receiving. He finished today with 144 yards and brought in 10 of his 14 targeted attempts. Brown’s targets almost doubled those of Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald combined as they totaled 15 targets. Arizona had success early on the ground and they ended the day with 114 yards averaging five yards per carry. David Johnson had 52 of his 85 yards after contact but had a costly fumble late in the game and the momentum quickly shifted into the Rams favor. The offensive line had a really difficult time against the great defensive front of the Rams — they surrendered three sacks with Evan Mathis and Jared Veldheer both finishing with pass protection grades under 50.

Top defensive grades:

ED Chandler Jones, 89.9
DI Calais Campbell, 85.0
ED Markus Golden, 83.6
DI Corey Peters, 82.6
S Tyrann Mathieu, 79.7

Dominant performance by front seven not enough for the win

Cardinals’ defenders recorded 26 defensive stops and terrorized the Rams’ OL and Case Keenum all game long but were undone by a poor offensive performance by Carson Palmer and company. Had the Cardinals prevailed, OLB Chandler Jones would be getting a hard look for game-ball winner as he caused LT Greg Robinson troubles recording a sack, a QB hit, four hurries and four run stops. If the Cardinals want to get back to playoff contention, the defense won’t hold them back.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Rams CB Trumaine Johnson

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • crosseyedlemon

    For the second week running the Rams catch a team intent on self destructing after having dominated the play. Last week the Bucs had 22 more plays and 12 more first downs than L.A. but still managed to implode. This week the Redbirds had 20 more plays and 14 more first downs but gave the ball away as though it contained a plague.

    • Josh Stewart

      First downs don’t win football games.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Your missing the point, which is that the Rams are winning despite being badly outplayed. They could very easily be 1-3 and can’t rely on all opponents to self destruct. Their defense is playing well but the offense will have to start carrying some of the load soon.

        • Josh Stewart

          Didn’t they just score like 30+ points? They don’t turn the ball over on offense. That’s all you need. Look at the Broncos last year. Just having less offensive yards doesn’t mean you’re getting outplayed. They have been winning special teams. Hekker is a baller and Greg hasn’t missed yet. Their defense is somewhat inconsistent but have been making plays when needed. So basically you’re saying that they are getting outplayed by looking at one single offensive stat.

          You’re probably also calling for them to bench Keenum for Goff. Go watch soccer.