STL-GB Grades: Packers defense smothers Foles, Rams

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Packers’ 24-10 win over the Rams.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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.

Top performers:

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.

Top performers:

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)

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

  • Brett Auriemma

    Green Bay’s top five performers were pass rushers… that’s not usual for us.

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  • Brian

    Wow. Seems the Packers D is really playing hot this year. If they can keep this up, they have to get to the NFC title game.

    • Schwalmy

      Yes, the defence was excellent against the pass and NICK FOLES, but Gurley made fools of them in the run game in the last half. It`s a good thing we got ahead as our pass rushers overwhelmed their O-line. I am starting to worry about Rodgers and his receivers. Maybe Jennings and Jordy were more instrumental in Rodgers success that we thought?

      • Kenn Korb

        Wait, so good receivers matter in a passing game? You are a genius, Captain Obvious.

        On a more serious note, since when does one bad game qualify for this level of questioning and worry? We knew that the Rams have a really strong pass rush beforehand, which could end up causing a rough game.

        Add in missing Adams again (the only true trustworthy deep threat w/o Nelson; Janis doesn’t have the trust needed for consistent snaps yet), just now getting Bulaga back from a multi-week absence, and losing Lang for half the game, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all that the team struggled on offense here.

        Against a weaker San Diego defense next week, we should see more opportunities for the offense to produce closer to the expected rate.

      • Brian Dugan

        Starting to worry about Rodgers?? His production thus far is almost exactly in line with his 2011 MVP season through 5 games.

      • Kevin

        Made fools of them. If you take away that 1 55 yard run late in the game he averaged less than 4 ypc. He had about 5-6 other 10+ yard runs and was really good considering his ol was best at the line for much of the game. He probably had at least 20 runs that went for under 3 yards.

        Id much rather have a back that consistently gets 5 or so yards per run than 6-7 big runs and 23 or so small gains that most likely count as a negative play.

        He had a helluva game but to say they made fools of GBs D is just ridiculously foolish on your part.

      • Kevin

        Really wish you had their advanced stats to look at. I will say Gurley graded negatively as did a majority of their OL. Advanced stats are far more telling. A handful of his runs made up a majority of his yards. That isnt how a rb tends to make fools of a def. They kept him in check a majority of the game and limited him to small gains 75+% of the time. He only forced 4 MTs all day and the main culprit for Gurleys big output was Palmer.

  • Joe Doe

    Wow, just wow. Baktiari and Walker were Green Bay’s top offensive lineman, while Sitton, Lang, and Linsley were all negative.

    Rodgers had a bad game while the defense shined.

    Hell has frozen over!

    In a sidenote, with the horrible play by Palmer and Thomas Jr., I’m curious if we Jake Ryan start to get some action. However, if you watch the pre-draft video of him playing against Indiana last year, you’d safely say that none of these three is a respectable option.

    • Andrew

      Jake Ryan is injured and wasn’t active last week.

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  • David Britt

    This how the Packers Defense use to be feared, back in the day, and it’s a Great time to be be a Packer fan. When I first started going to games at Milwaukee County Stadium season’s of ‘86,1987’ the scab years, the NFL player’s were on strike, GB was the League doormats, UGLY where you literally wipe your shoes on at the door, Lynn Dickey gave you Hope, some fans now are spoiled but its nice to see them win, Favre didn’t show up til 92. When Aaron had trouble last week vs the Rams I waited for them to go into feed the ball to Lacy….the NFL March continues..say Cheese!