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Can the Rams bounce back? It's a tough climb for the offense

The St. Louis Rams offense has had a rough time in the red zone. Can they turn it around this week?
The St. Louis Rams offense has had a rough time in the red zone. Can they turn it around this week?

Coming off an ugly loss to the Detroit Lions last week, we took a look yesterday at the chances for a rebound this week from the St. Louis Rams' defense. Today, we'll look at the likelihood of the offense bouncing back from a bad week. 

The Rams had all kinds of trouble scoring points, despite Steven Jackson's first 100+ yard rushing game of the season. 

Was it a fluke or something to be concerned about?

Fluke factor
Using the weekly DVOA numbers we used for the defense, it suggests that the Rams offense had something of an outlier performance last week. Against Detroit, the Rams had a -36.5 percent DVOA, much worse than the week before when they had a -1.2 percent DVOA. That number was slightly worse than the opening week performance against Arizona which resulted in a -31.5 percent DVOA for the offense. 

Last season, the Rams offense had just four performances that were worse in terms of DVOA. Though still receiver challenged, this is a better offense, so a performance like that could indeed be an outlier. 

The biggest culprit was the passing game, which netted a mind-boggling -42.0 percent DVOA, far worse than the opening week tally of -32.9 percent. 

How much of that drop is the result of the Rams losing WR Mark Clayton and not adjusting well during the game?

Clayton had over 100 yards against the Cardinals, and the passing offense was pretty putrid. However, they failed to recover after losing Clayton early against Detroit. Some of that sure looked like a mental/execution collapse to me, but that kind of thing can't be quantified. 

The play calling and the receivers will have to step up big this week. 

Bradford and the Rams moved the ball well enough last week, 341 total yards and 213 passing yards. The problem was execution in the red zone where they were 0-3. That's consistent with a -75.9 percent red zone DVOA for the offense. Passing and rushing are problems for the Rams inside the 20-yard line, -53.1 percent (25th) and positively disastrous -91.5 DVOA when rushing in the red zone. 

The overall DVOA for the offense in the red zone is even worse than last year's number (-59.3 percent), but the rushing wasn't even close to that bad last year (-24.0 percent). Clearly, the Rams aren't going to survive with that kind of red zone performance, especially when it comes to running the ball.

Be concerned. The Rams offense has looked better overall this season than last, but those red zone numbers should leave you worried.