Much has been made about the success of the NFC West through the first five weeks of the season. Every team owns a winning record and all four are undefeated at home. What's the difference? Defense. More specifically, the four teams in the division are terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. Check out some of the numbers passed along by Mike Sando on Tuesday morning.
Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 57.9 percent of their passes against NFC West teams. The division's defenses have a 14-20 TD-INT ration, also the best of any division in the league, as well as the fewest yards allowed, 4,471. Using ESPN's convoluted QBR stat, opponents have a 41.8 rating.
The only statistical category where the NFC West doesn't lead is in sacks. The NFC North has 59 to the NFC West's 57.
A rejuvenated St. Louis Rams teams is helping things out West, now that Jeff Fisher has the team competitive for the first time in a long time. The Rams have 15 sacks on the season, one less than Seattle who leads the division. The most impressive number is that opponents have scored on the Rams just twice through the air; that's tied with Baltimore for the best mark in the league.
Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins changed the nature of the Rams defense, giving them a pair of corners capable of shutting down receivers, severely limiting what opponents can do and allowing the pass rush to be more effective. It also allows for different looks. Prior to last week, the Rams had not done much blitzing. Against the Cardinals that changed, and Fisher sent five or more pass rushers at the quarterback on more than 50 percent of Arizona's third-down plays.
Talent gives coaches options, and the Rams finally have that, on defense. Little surprise they're 3-2.