Julio Jones had a career day against the St. Louis Rams last week, recording 186 yards, a career-best, and one touchdown on 11 catches. It was the biggest day any receiver has had against the team since 2009. Since the pass defense is in the spotlight right now, I thought it would be worth taking a look at the other big receiving performances this defense has seen.
Let's define big game arbitrarily at a 100-yard game. Last year, the Rams allowed a total of seven receivers in six games to top that mark. The Rams were 2-4 when an opposing receiver hit the triple-digit yardage marker. One of those wins came against Tampa Bay, when Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams recorded 108 and 132 yards, respectively. Williams was the only one who managed to score. Michael Crabtree had 101 yards on seven catches in the Rams' overtime win against San Francisco in Week 13.
Overall, the Rams had a good showing against No. 1 receivers last season. According to Football Outsiders, No. 1 receivers averaged 61.3 yards per game against the Rams, and the defense had a sixth-best -17.2 percent DVOA. No. 2 receivers didn't fare much better. The Rams had the 10th-best DVOA at -7.3 percent, and No. 2 wideouts averaged 53.7 yards per game.
Where the Rams did struggle was defending tight ends and running backs as pass catches. Tight ends averaged 58.8 yards per game against the Rams, and the team ranked 23rd defending tight ends. Running backs averaged 40.8 receiving yards per game, and the Rams had the second-worst defense against back as a pass catchers.
Sample sizes are too small to make judgement about the Rams pass defense against the various kinds of receivers this year. Per the Football Outsiders data, only two teams are allowing more yards per game to No. 1 receivers than the Rams at 123 yards per game.
Tight ends are averaging 51.5 yards per game, and running backs are averaging 38.8 receiving yards per game.
So here we are at Week 3, staring down a matchup against Dez Bryant, a player many considered a candidate to be the best receiver in the NFL this year. He's definitely among the best in the game (long time TST readers will remember 3k talking about how good Bryant could be ahead of the 2010 NFL Draft).
Fisher promised that the team was working on its pass defense.
Last year's team allowed 100-yard receiving performances in back-to-back weeks to happen twice: Jordy Nelson in Week 7, Rob Gronkowski in Week 8, the Bucs' receivers in Week 16 and Golden Tate in Week 17.
The Rams haven't allowed an opposing receiver to reach the 100-yard mark for three games in a row since 2006. That Rams team allowed it to happen for four weeks in a row, from Week 2 though 5.