The Rams turned in their best overall performance of the season this past weekend, in a monstrous 52-0 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The Rams dominated every aspect of the game, and it shows in this weeks statistical analysis. Nothing but positive results across the board.
Throughout the 2014 season, I'll be tracking five key team statistical measures, and their affect on the outcome of every Rams game: Turnover Differential, Big Play Differential, Points Per Drive Differential, Team Penalty Yards Differential, and the score of the game at half-time. When combined, Turnover Differential and Big Play Differential creates a statistic commonly referred to as "Toxic Differential".
Why were these 5 particular metrics selected for tracking throughout the 2014 season? Turnovers and Big Plays have proven to be influential in determining the outcome of a game. There's a historically strong correlation between Points Per Drive Differential and a teams regular season record. The score at half-time and Team Penalty Yards Differential were selected specifically with the Rams in mind. There appears to be a strong correlation between the score at half-time and the Rams' win/loss record. The Rams - under Jeff Fisher - have been among the league leaders in penalties, to their detriment.
It's a widely held belief that winning the turnover battle is important to a teams success on the field. The Rams finished with 7 wins in 2013. The team had a positive turnover differential in 6 of those wins, and a zero differential in the other victory. Overall, the Rams finished 9'th in Turnover Differential (plus +8) last season. In 2013, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks led the NFL in this key statistic.
In the game against the Raiders, the Rams won the turnover battle in dramatic fashion, with no giveaways and 5 takeaways, a plus +5 turnover differential. Oakland turnovers directly led to 17 points scored by the Rams.
The Rams are currently 14'th in the league in Turnover Differential (+2). The Rams have a cumulative positive turnover differential for the first time this season. In their last three games, the Rams have turned over the ball only three times, while forcing 10 turnovers in the same three games
|1||Green Bay Packers||23||8||15|
|3||New England Patriots||20||9||11|
|9||San Francisco 49ers||22||17||5|
|14||St. Louis Rams||21||19||2|
|17||San Diego Chargers||13||14||-1|
|19||Kansas City Chiefs||10||13||-3|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19||25||-6|
|27||New Orleans Saints||13||20||-7|
|29||New York Giants||18||25||-7|
|31||New York Jets||7||19||-12|
Team Penalty Yards Differential
In 2013, the Rams were the 2'nd most penalized team in the NFL, averaging 7.7 Team Penalties Per Game. An excessive number of penalties can stall drives, and can keep opponents' drives alive. In an average NFL game, the officials will call between 12-14 penalties per game (both teams combined). The Rams' goals should be to have no more than 6 penalties per game, plus a positive Team Penalty Yards Differential.
The Rams were flagged for 8 penalties - totalling 60 yards - in the contest against Oakland. The Raiders committed 8 penalties for 73 yards. For the Rams, the result was a positive Team Penalty Yards Differential of 13 yards.
After 12 games, the Rams are tied for 7'th most-penalized team in the NFL, averaging 7.6 penalties per game. The Rams are 2'nd in the league in most penalty yards (851), and are 29'th in the league in Team Penalty Yards Differential (-248). In an interesting twist, the Rams rank 8'th in the NFL in fewest Opponent Penalty Yards (603). Overall, the officials still aren't too keen on penalizing the Rams' opponents.
|Rank||Team||GP||Pen Yds||Opp. Pen Yds||Pen Yds Diff||Pen Yds Diff/Game|
|4||Kansas City Chiefs||12||437||629||192||12.00|
|5||Green Bay Packers||12||585||776||191||11.94|
|6||New York Giants||12||511||663||152||9.50|
|10||New Orleans Saints||12||575||673||98||6.13|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||12||639||716||77||4.81|
|14||San Diego Chargers||12||736||788||52||3.25|
|23||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||807||733||-74||-4.63|
|27||New York Jets||11||735||536||-199||-12.44|
|29||St. Louis Rams||12||851||603||-248||-15.50|
|30||New England Patriots||12||866||598||-268||-16.75|
Big Play Differential
Big Play Differential is the difference between the number of big plays - running plays of 10+ yards plus passing plays of 25+ yards - an offense creates, and the number of big plays a defense allows. How important are big plays to a teams offense/defense? Last season, NFL teams averaged 0.8 points per drive without a big play, and 3.9 points per drive with at least one of them.
In the game against Oakland, the Rams' offense produced 4 rushing big plays, and 3 passing big plays. The Rams' defense gave up only 1 big play in total, resulting in a plus +6 Big Play Differential for the game. The plus +6 differential was the Rams' best showing of the season in this particular statistical area. The Rams' big plays were highlighted by a pair of Tre Mason touchdowns, one an 89-yard rushing play, the other a 35-yard touchdown pass from QB Shaun Hill.
The Rams currently rank tied for 16'th in the league in Big Play Differential (zero). The teams' ranking has shown significant improvement in the past 6 weeks.
|Rank||Team||Plays||Big Plays||Rush||Pass||Big Play %||BPA||+/-|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||770||58||35||23||7.53%||44||14|
|2||Green Bay Packers||733||73||46||27||9.96%||60||13|
|17||New York Jets||731||53||40||13||7.25%||41||12|
|10||St. Louis Rams||726||56||34||22||7.71%||56||0|
|23||San Diego Chargers||748||48||26||22||6.42%||58||-10|
|25||New England Patriots||811||52||32||20||6.41%||62||-10|
|14||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||712||52||27||25||7.3%||64||-12|
|18||New Orleans Saints||830||60||39||21||7.23%||74||-14|
|22||Kansas City Chiefs||719||49||37||12||6.82%||74||-25|
|27||New York Giants||811||51||29||22||6.29%||86||-35|
Points Per Drive Differential
Points Per Drive Differential is a derivative of Points Scored/Allowed. It measures the number of points generated/allowed on an average drive. 13 teams reached the playoffs/won 10 games in 2013. 12 of them finished in the top dozen in Points Per Drive Differential. Successful teams with winning records are normally the most efficient - both offensively and defensively - and consistently generate positive PPD Differentials.
In Sunday's game, the Rams had 14 drives in total, and scored 45 points on those drives (3.21 points per drive), their best result of the season. The Raiders had 15 drives in total, and scored no points on those drives (0.00 points per drive). This was the Rams' first shutout of the season, and the defense's best performance to-date . The Rams' Points Per Drive Differential versus the Raiders: Plus +3.21.
After 12 games, the Rams rank 23'rd in the league in Points Per Drive Differential (- 0.24). The teams' ranking keeps improving on a weekly basis.
|Team||Points Per Drive||Points Per Drive Against||Point Differential|
|1||New England Patriots||2.8||1.83||0.97|
|2||Green Bay Packers||3.02||2.05||0.96|
|9||Kansas City Chiefs||2.16||1.71||0.45|
|13||San Diego Chargers||2.18||1.92||0.26|
|18||New Orleans Saints||2.54||2.52||0.02|
|20||San Francisco 49ers||1.7||1.81||-0.11|
|23||St. Louis Rams||1.85||2.1||-0.24|
|24||New York Giants||1.8||2.2||-0.4|
|25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1.62||2.23||-0.61|
|31||New York Jets||1.37||2.42||-1.05|
Score At Half-Time
In 2013, the Rams finished with a 7-9 record. In all 7 victories, the Rams were either tied or leading at half-time. In the Rams' wins against Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Denver this season, they were leading at the half in all three contests. In the win against San Francisco, the Rams were tied 10-10 at half-time.
In the game against Oakland, the Rams went into the locker room at half-time with an insurmountable 38-0 lead. The second half proved to be no more than practice time for both teams. In 9 out of 12 games this season, the Rams either led or were tied at half-time.
|Week||Turnover Diff.||Big Play Diff.||PPD Diff.||PY Diff.||Half-Time||Game Score|
|1||Negative||Negative||Negative||Negative||0 13||Lost 34-6|
|2||Even||Negative||Positive||Negative||10 7||Won 19-17|
|3||Negative||Negative||Negative||Negative||21 10||Lost 34-31|
|5||Even||Positive||Positive||Negative||7 20||Lost 34-28|
|6||Even||Negative||Negative||Negative||14 10||Lost 31-17|
|7||Even||Negative||Negative||Positive||21 6||Won 28-26|
|8||Even||Negative||Negative||Negative||7 10||Lost 34-7|
|9||Even||Negative||Positive||Negative||10 10||Won 13-10|
|10||Negative||Positive||Negative||Negative||14 10||Lost 31-14|
|11||Positive||Positive||Positive||Positive||13 7||Won 22-7|
|12||Even||Negative||Negative||Negative||10 6||Lost 27-24|
|13||Positive||Positive||Positive||Positive||38 0||Won 52-0|
Look at all the positive results from the Denver and Oakland games. Then look at the negative results from the San Diego game. Invariably, it's the difference between winning and losing football games.
Pro Football Focus Grades
As an added feature, OakCityRam is generously contributing his weekly compilation of Pro Football Focus grades for each Rams player. Although PFF grades have their shortcomings and are quite subjective, they do offer a unique perspective. The grades can be a valuable tool for analyzing individual player performance, especially when used in conjunction with other statistics. PFF provides - on their website - a detailed description of how players are graded.
|RANK||Pos.||#||Name||Total||Run||Pass||Run Block||Pass Block||Overall||Pass||Rush||Pass Block||Screen Block||Run Block||Penalty|
|16/110||RWR||12||Stedman Bailey *||31||0||17||14||0||2.9||2.8||0||0||0||0||0.1|
|15/22||FB||46||Cory Harkey *||25||0||6||16||3||2.5||0.9||0||0.2||0||1.4||0|
|41/68||TE-L||88||Lance Kendricks *||41||0||11||26||4||1.6||-0.3||0||0.2||0||1.6||0.1|
|36/81||LG||76||Rodger Saffold *||36||0||0||16||20||1.1||0.8||0||0.2||0.1|
|15/77||RT||72||Joe Barksdale *||56||0||0||30||26||0.7||-0.9||0||1.4||0.2|
|47/110||LWR||81||Kenny Britt *||46||0||23||23||0||0.2||0.1||0||0||0||0||0.1|
|37/60||HB||27||Tre Mason *||37||14||13||7||3||-0.8||-0.3||0.3||-0.3||0||0||-0.5|
|49/70||QB||14||Shaun Hill *||50||1||26||23||0||-0.9||-1.4||0.4||0||0||0||0.1|
|62/81||RG||69||Davin Joseph *||56||0||0||30||26||-1.5||-0.4||0||-0.2||-0.9|
|71/77||LT||79||Greg Robinson *||56||0||0||30||26||-1.8||0.1||0||-1.1||-0.8|
|65/67||C||63||Scott Wells *||56||0||0||30||26||-1.9||-0.4||0||-0.6||-0.9|
|RANK||Pos.||#||Name||Total||Run||Rush||Cov.||Overall||Run Defense||Pass Rush||Pass Cov.||Penalty|
|1/78||DLT||99||Aaron Donald *||62||16||45||1||3.3||1.5||1.6||0||0.2|
|40/78||DRT||90||Michael Brockers *||54||17||36||1||2.8||1.5||1.1||0||0.2|
|31/38||WLB||52||Alec Ogletree *||81||23||10||48||2.1||0.9||1.7||-0.6||0.1|
|20/116||LCB||33||E.J. Gaines *||81||23||0||58||2.1||0.6||0||1.4||0.1|
|61/116||RCB||21||Janoris Jenkins *||42||13||0||29||1.9||0.1||0||1.7||0.1|
|28/86||SS||26||Mark Barron *||48||12||2||34||1.5||-0.4||-0.2||2||0.1|
|25/86||SS||25||T.J. McDonald *||81||23||4||54||1.4||0.3||0.2||0.8||0.1|
|48/60||MLB||55||James Laurinaitis *||81||23||16||42||1||0.4||-0.3||0.8||0.1|
|11/87||DRE||94||Robert Quinn *||50||11||39||0||0.3||0.8||0.3||0||-0.8|
|47/86||FS||23||Rodney McLeod *||81||23||0||58||0.3||0.8||0||-0.6||0.1|
|59/87||DLE||91||Chris Long *||40||9||31||0||-2.2||-0.7||-1.6||0||0.1|
Aaron Donald continues to impress. He's now the highest-graded DT in the league. E.J. Gaines looks more and more like the steal of the 2014 NFL Draft. Overall, the Rams' 2014 draft is shaping up to be their best since the arrival of Jeff Fisher and Les Snead.
Stedman Bailey had another impressive game, with 5 receptions for 100 yards. If the Rams re-sign Kenny Britt, and Brian Quick makes a full recovery from a season-ending shoulder injury, I believe the Rams could be set at the WR positions heading into the 2015 season.
Overall, the player grades versus the Raiders were the best individual results of the season to-date.
Tre Mason had a far greater impact on the game than his grade suggests. 3 TD's. 117 rushing yards on 14 carries. 47 receiving yards. The grade evidently reflects the fact that 89 of his rushing yards were gained on one play. Mason only had 28 yards rushing on his other 13 carries.
He doesn't get mentioned often enough, but P John Hekker is quietly having a fine season. Hekker is eligible for free agency in 2015. Re-signing him should be an off-season priority for the Rams.
Also worth checking out. Rams Stats and Records - The Stats Doctor: 101 Sports