News & Analysis

NFL Week 5 PFF ReFocused: Los Angeles Rams 30, Washington Football Team 10

Alex Smith played in his first game since suffering a gruesome leg injury in Week 11 of 2018, coming in after Kyle Allen was injured in the second quarter. Dwayne Haskins, who just lost the starting QB job last week, was unavailable due to illness.

Smith’s return was the only highlight for fans in the nation's capital, as Jared Goff and the Rams bounced back from a poor performance last week to torment the Washington defense.

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

Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio appeared to have no answer for Rams tight end Gerald Everett. The beneficiary of Sean McVay’s creativity, Everett racked up 80 yards on three catches in the first half off  screens and as a mismatch on the outside at wide receiver. 

While Goff played comfortably from the pocket, facing pressure on 6.3% of his dropbacks, Aaron Donald repeatedly made his way into the lap of the Washington quarterback. Los Angeles generated 15 total pressures — Donald led the way with three sacks. 

Oct 11, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) attempts a pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter at FedExField. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After posting a 66.6 passing grade last week against the Giants — 15th among all 32 starting quarterbacks in Week 4 — Goff looked sharper today. With an average time to throw of 2.51 seconds and an average depth of target of 6.3 yards, the Rams QB flourished as a dink-and-dunk passer. 

Excluding Everett, no other Rams pass-catcher averaged more than 2.64 yards per route run. The offense produced 196 yards after the catch, suggesting that McVay’s formula through the first five weeks is to get the ball quickly into the hands of his best playmakers. 

Rookie Watch

After a groin injury held him out last week against the Baltimore Ravens, Chase Young returned today to play 43 snaps and looked like a work in progress.

On the Washington offense, third-round running back Antonio Gibson turned in a relatively quiet performance with 16 total touches for 51 yards. 

Serving as a backup to second-year pro Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers carried the ball nine times and rushed for 61 yards. 

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