NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 PFF ReFocused: New York Jets 23, Los Angeles Rams 20

Inglewood, California, USA; New York Jets running back Ty Johnson (25) scores a touchdown as Los Angeles Rams strong safety Jordan Fuller (32) defends the play during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It took until Week 15, but the New York Jets finally got into the win column with a 23-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The win dropped the Jets' chances of landing the No. 1 pick from 77% to 31%.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

It was too little, too late for the Rams, as they failed to get any offensive momentum in the first half and needed a 45-yard field goal as the second quarter expired to get on the scoreboard before heading into the locker room. Los Angeles would go on to score on three straight drives after the break, but a game-saving pass breakup by Marcus Maye sealed the win for the Jets. 

Sam Darnold did not play lights out but was able to make the correct reads — he avoided turning the ball over and posted his highest completion percentage (92.0%) of the season and the second-highest of his career. Jared Goff and Darnold both failed to push the ball down the field, completing only two passes over 15 yards and none over 20. Both quarterbacks had a target depth of under 6.5 yards, and over 50% of their passing yards come after catch.

Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) moves the ball against New York Jets inside linebacker Neville Hewitt (46) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The receiving duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods combined for just 11 catches and 95 yards. Woods found the end zone in the second half and even took a handoff 40 yards. Cam Akers left for a bit with an injury but was able to return to the lead back role he has captured in recent weeks. He has more carries over the past three weeks than he had in the first 12 combined (65 to 59).

Aaron Donald was unable to have as big of an impact on the game as usual, pressuring Darnold only three times (tied for his lowest total all season) and only a 16.1% pass rushing win rate (fourth-lowest this season). This was due to an improved performance from a shaky Jets offensive line, which allowed only nine pressures against a Rams defense that ranks fifth in total pressures on the season. The nine pressures allowed was the second-lowest total allowed by the Jets this season. 

Rookie Watch

Mekhi Becton has been trending in a positive direction in the second half of the season. He continued that by not allowing a single pressure all game against a highly touted Rams defensive line. Denzel Mims caught just three passes for 18 yards and posted a low 4.7 average depth of target. 

For the Rams, Akers rushed for a first down or touchdown on 33% of his carries and forced three missed tackles on his runs. Van Jefferson did not contribute in the box score besides seeing a single target. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the rookie Jets duo of Bryce Hall and Javelin Guidry allowed nine combined catches on 12 targets 

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