Penalties and Turnovers Tell the Tale

Dilip Vishwanat

The Rams looked strong early in the season, but a lack of takeaways and mental toughness has plagued them recently.

Winning in the NFL is tough. Actually, it is extremely tough. The Rams haven't looked like a good team the last three weeks. Good teams do two things consistently; they force turnovers and minimize mental mistakes. The Rams haven't dont either one of those things in their last three games. Let's take a look at those games...

The Dolphins Game:

The Rams looked to have a favorable matchup going into the Dolphins game. Up until that game, the Rams had performed well against rookie quarterbacks (see Seattle, and Washington). Ryan Tannehill should have been in for a stressful, turnover-ridden day. Instead, the Rams were unable to force a single turnover. Tannehill entered the game against the Rams having thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions. He left the Rams game with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

To make matters worse, the Rams committed a season high 12 penalties for 94 yards. The penalties, coupled with zero forced turnovers, lead to the Rams eventual 17-14 loss.

The Packers Game:

The road map to beat Aaron Rodgers includes generating turnovers and not shooting yourself in the foot. While the Rams didn't commit many penalties, only tallying 6 for 30 yards, the defense failed to take the ball away from Green Bay's potent offense a single time. In both games Green Bay has lost, they have given the ball away once.

The Patriots Game:

The Rams took an old fashion beating on Sunday. The penalties and lack of turnovers forced don't tell the entire story, but they offer a glimpse at an alarming trend. A season high tying 12 penalties for 102 yards were committed on Sunday by the Rams. Bradley Fletcher accounted for a large chunk of those numbers. Also, for the third week in a row the Rams failed to force a single turnover. When you are playing Tom Brady, that just won't cut it. Seattle and Arizona both forced at least one turnover in route to beating the Patriots and the Rams needed to replicate those results.

Wrap Up:

Over the last three games the Rams have committed 30 penalties for a grand total of 226 yards. The Rams three opponents, on the other hand, committed only 16 penalties for 112 yards. The Rams netted a loss of 114 yards over the course of those three games. Out of 32 teams, the Rams are ranked 29th in average penalties committed a game, with an average of 7.6. For perspective, the two teams committing the least amount of penalties per game are the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons.

The Rams forced zero turnovers in that time, while their three opponents took the ball away a total of four times, leaving the Rams negative four in the turnover ratio column. Throughout the season the Rams have averaged one interception thrown per game which ranks them at 20th in the league. New England leads the league averaging .4 interceptions thrown per game.

If the Rams want to right the ship, they need to minimize the senseless penalties, and start taking the ball away. Until those two things start to happen, the Rams will continue to disappoint.

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