Rams offense: First and shame

I'm going to continue digging into the stats for the St. Louis Rams today, just beat this horse a few more times before we settle in for a solid day of college football and playoff baseball. 

The Rams third down follies have been well documented, burned into our minds. Long yardage and mind-boggling decisions to have Gado carry the ball with one yard to go have made it virtually impossible for the Rams to convert third downs, much less sustain a scoring drive. 

The real trouble starts further back, on first down. Check out the Rams offensive DVOA for first downs:

-21.6%, 29th

You can read the full explaination of DVOA here, but the short version means that the Rams are 21.6% less likely than this season's average NFL team to get 45% of the yards needed for a first down. Thinking pass or rush makes a difference? Check this out:

1st down, rush: -22.7%, 27th
1st down, pass: -21.6%, 29th

There it is, a statistical representation of the Rams failure to do anything when they have the ball. Their total 3rd down DVOA of -61.1%, a jaw-dropping figure, means nothing when you can't get anything going on first down. 

If they can't fix that against the Vikings today, well, you know the rest.

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