Wins cure everything, well, almost everything. There are still 10 games left to play, but we're finally getting a sense of who and what this St. Louis Rams team wants to be. Let's take a quick look at some of the defining statistics from this week's win over the hapless Houston Texans.
The offense converted three of seven third down attempts, 42.86 percent. That's the highest mark of the season for the Rams, and the second week in a row that the conversion rate topped 42 percent. For the season, the Rams offense is converting 31 percent of its third down attempts, a number that's steadily increasing now. The league average is 38 percent. Running the ball better, like they did this week, will help that.
On defense, the Rams allowed Houston to convert six of 14 attempts, for 42 percent. That's up from last week's mark of 25 percent, but it's better than the conversion rates they were allowing to start the season. Progress.
Perfect is the only way to describe the Rams offense in the red zone this week, without a trace of homerism. They were 3-for-3 inside the 20. This is actually the third time this season that the Rams have been perfect in the red zone. However, those last two games they only had one trip down there.
The Rams have become suddenly proficient in the red zone this year. They have a 66.67 percent conversion rate. It was 51 percent last year, and and abysmal 39 percent in 2011.
Yards per carry
For the second week in a row, the Rams made the run game a priority. For the second week in a row, Rams rushers averaged 4.0 yards per attempt. St. Louis ran the ball 25 times, and passed it just 16. That's not exactly the trend you're seeing across the NFL, but it's a good mix for St. Louis, which struggles when it goes to the all-out spread offense attack the team tried through the first four games of the season.
The Texans turned the ball over four times. The Rams didn't turn it over at all. That gave St. Louis a turnover differential of [calculator noises] +4.
The defense forced three fumbles, recovering two, including one for a touchdown. So far this season, the Rams have forced 14 fumbles and recovered seven. Last year, the Rams forced a total of 17 fumbles, recovering just four.
Sleeping giant awakes
Michael Brockers was pegged as a guy to watch this season, but with the defense struggling, there hasn't been much to see. That changed this week. Brockers had two sacks, after picking up one last week and a half sack the week before that. He had seven tackles, three for a loss, and two more pressures on the QB to go with his sacks.
The Rams had nine penalties this week. Not great, but the impact was reduced. Best of all, they had ZERO special teams penalties this week. As a result ...
The Rams average starting field position was on the 34-yard line in the first half. Prior to this game, the Rams offense was starting out, on average, at about the 25-yard line. For the entire game, the Rams were averaging a start on their own 26-yard line.
On punts, Houston punted twice, one was downed, the other was a touchback. Kick returns were big this week, Benny Cunningham averaged 28 yards on two returns.
Field position is a big deal. The less distance the offense has to travel, the easier it is to score.
The Rams dropped one pass this week, one. Of course, it happened to a big one on Chris Givens that probably would have been a touchdown. Such is life. One drop is a long way from where the Rams were leading into this game, averaging 3.6 drops per game.
Big credit to the offensive line. For the third time this season, they did not allow a sack, no small task against Houston's defense led by J.J. Watt. Bradford was hit twice and hurried two more times. That's it. I was looking at the stats prior to this game, and was concerned because Jake Long had been giving up more pressure than any other lineman. But he turned it around this week. That's big for the Rams.
The Rams defense found its stride again, sacking Houston's quarterbacks five times, hitting them another five times and hurrying them six times.