The St. Louis Rams have a really special defensive front with Robert Quinn and Chris Long on the outside, Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford starting on the inside, and plenty of pass rushing depth behind them. Quinn and Long make up one of the most devastating duos as far as pass rushing goes at the 4-3 DE spot, and Robert Quinn was at his finest on Sunday against Atlanta Falcons. As Philadelphia Eagles star Trent Cole can attest, when Falcons left tackle Sam Baker has a bad game, he’s absolutely horrific. Baker was mincemeat against Quinn, and most of that credit should go to Quinn, who probably would have even gotten the better of San Francisco 49ers standout left tackle Joe Staley with those pass rushing moves.
Quinn may have been on the losing side for the Rams in the 31-24 game against the Falcons, but he is our NFL Spin Zone Player of the Week after hitting Matt Ryan four times in one game. Sacks are an incredibly overrated statistic, because they simply don’t tell the whole story of a player’s performance and don’t contextualize what a pass rusher did. A pass rusher’s main job is to put pressure on the quarterback in order to disrupt the timing of an offense, and the so-called “inability to finish plays” is usually the result of the quarterback throwing the ball. In a sense, sacks are also misleading because that pressure could have forced an interception from the quarterback due to the heat, and that’s honestly the best-case scenario for the pass rusher overall.
While Matt Ryan didn’t throw any picks, it’s safe to say that Robert Quinn left a major mark on this game. He finished with four tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss in total, and the aforementioned four hits on the QB. Quinn was constantly in Ryan’s face all day, and he consistently put pressure on the quarterback. Again, that’s the main job of the pass rusher, and Quinn certainly fulfilled that duty.
It’s also important to take a look at how fast a defensive end is able to put pressure on the passer, and Quinn was just beating Baker incredibly quickly with pure power. He would just bulldoze right off of the line of scrimmage and win battles with ease at the point of attack, and his ability to rip and swim past help blocking was also amazing.
You want to know a mind-blowing fact about Robert Quinn on run defense? He was so good against the run as well that the Falcons ran the ball six times to the left side for zero yards. Zero yards. 0. Wow. Apologies for the poor syntax, but I found that to be a mind-blowing statistic. So not only was Quinn excellent as a pass rusher, but he also shut down the Falcons running game to the point where they literally got nothing when running it to the left.
So Robert Quinn is our Player of the Week for Week 2, and I feel like he definitely deserved it. His stats weren’t off-the-charts, but he had a huge impact on the game, even if the Rams ended up losing it. His run defense was impeccable, and his pass rushing was just on another level.