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Rams-Raiders: Key Stats Analysis - Week 13

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Throughout the 2014 season, I'll be keeping track of four key team statistical measures, and how they affect the outcome of every Rams game: Turnover Differential, Big Play Differential, Points Per Drive Differential, and Team Penalty Yards Differential. In addition, I'll keep track of the score at half-time. Is there a correlation between these statistics and the Rams' win/loss record?

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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.

NFL Stats

Turnover Differential

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

Team Turnover Differential Statistics
Team Takeaways Giveaways Turnover Differential
1 Green Bay Packers 23 8 15
2 Houston Texans 28 17 11
3 New England Patriots 20 9 11
4 Buffalo Bills 25 16 9
5 Seattle Seahawks 18 9 9
6 Arizona Cardinals 21 13 8
7 Atlanta Falcons 24 18 6
8 Cleveland Browns 22 16 6
9 San Francisco 49ers 22 17 5
10 Denver Broncos 16 12 4
11 Detroit Lions 19 15 4
12 Baltimore Ravens 18 15 3
13 Miami Dolphins 20 17 3
14 St. Louis Rams 21 19 2
15 Minnesota Vikings 15 14 1
16 Cincinnati Bengals 17 18 -1
17 San Diego Chargers 13 14 -1
18 Indianapolis Colts 20 22 -2
19 Kansas City Chiefs 10 13 -3
20 Dallas Cowboys 19 22 -3
21 Carolina Panthers 17 20 -3
22 Pittsburgh Steelers 14 18 -4
23 Chicago Bears 19 23 -4
24 Tennessee Titans 15 21 -6
25 Philadelphia Eagles 22 28 -6
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19 25 -6
27 New Orleans Saints 13 20 -7
28 Washington Redskins 15 22 -7
29 New York Giants 18 25 -7
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 17 24 -7
31 New York Jets 7 19 -12
32 Oakland Raiders 8 26 -18

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.

Team Penalty Yards Differential
Rank Team GP Pen Yds Opp. Pen Yds Pen Yds Diff Pen Yds Diff/Game
1 Arizona Cardinals 12 582 873 291 18.19
2 Jacksonville Jaguars 12 423 650 227 14.19
3 Miami Dolphins 11 456 662 206 12.88
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
7 Baltimore Ravens 12 653 790 137 8.56
8 Philadelphia Eagles 12 694 822 128 8.00
9 Minnesota Vikings 12 642 759 117 7.31
10 New Orleans Saints 12 575 673 98 6.13
11 Cincinnati Bengals 12 627 706 79 4.94
12 San Francisco 49ers 12 639 716 77 4.81
13 Oakland Raiders 12 659 736 77 4.81
14 San Diego Chargers 12 736 788 52 3.25
15 Houston Texans 12 580 620 40 2.50
16 Chicago Bears 12 734 771 37 2.31
17 Washington Redskins 12 828 856 28 1.75
18 Carolina Panthers 12 591 617 26 1.63
19 Dallas Cowboys 12 548 556 8 0.50
20 Pittsburgh Steelers 12 730 672 -58 -3.63
21 Indianapolis Colts 12 688 628 -60 -3.75
22 Detroit Lions 12 719 648 -71 -4.44
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 807 733 -74 -4.63
24 Cleveland Browns 12 672 584 -88 -5.50
25 Atlanta Falcons 12 704 609 -95 -5.94
26 Buffalo Bills 12 759 644 -115 -7.19
27 New York Jets 11 735 536 -199 -12.44
28 Tennessee Titans 12 779 570 -209 -13.06
29 St. Louis Rams 12 851 603 -248 -15.50
30 New England Patriots 12 866 598 -268 -16.75
31 Denver Broncos 12 841 522 -319 -19.94
32 Seattle Seahawks 12 775 416 -359 -22.44

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.

Team Big Plays Statistics
Rank Team Plays Big Plays Rush Pass Big Play % BPA +/-
1 Seattle Seahawks 746 79 62 17 10.59% 34 45
7 Denver Broncos 818 67 38 29 8.19% 34 33
3 Baltimore Ravens 768 70 50 20 9.11% 47 23
4 Washington Redskins 761 69 40 29 9.07% 50 19
29 Detroit Lions 791 48 24 24 6.07% 31 17
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
21 Miami Dolphins 713 49 37 12 6.87% 39 10
5 Dallas Cowboys 754 67 48 19 8.89% 59 8
9 Philadelphia Eagles 875 69 43 26 7.89% 65 4
16 Cincinnati Bengals 756 55 37 18 7.28% 51 4
13 Cleveland Browns 802 60 35 25 7.48% 58 2
11 Houston Texans 774 59 40 19 7.62% 58 1
19 Chicago Bears 764 55 32 23 7.2% 54 1
6 Indianapolis Colts 843 73 38 35 8.66% 73 0
8 Pittsburgh Steelers 831 67 35 32 8.06% 67 0
10 St. Louis Rams 726 56 34 22 7.71% 56 0
26 Carolina Panthers 785 50 32 18 6.37% 52 -2
30 Buffalo Bills 758 45 21 24 5.94% 50 -5
24 Arizona Cardinals 733 47 22 25 6.41% 54 -7
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
28 Minnesota Vikings 738 46 33 13 6.23% 60 -14
20 Jacksonville Jaguars 745 53 33 20 7.11% 68 -15
31 Atlanta Falcons 783 41 24 17 5.24% 57 -16
15 Tennessee Titans 672 49 26 23 7.29% 68 -19
32 Oakland Raiders 729 35 19 16 4.8% 57 -22
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 Statistics
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
3 Philadelphia Eagles 2.42 1.76 0.66
4 Indianapolis Colts 2.55 1.91 0.63
5 Baltimore Ravens 2.5 1.88 0.63
6 Seattle Seahawks 2.31 1.74 0.57
7 Denver Broncos 2.42 1.88 0.55
8 Miami Dolphins 2.3 1.77 0.53
9 Kansas City Chiefs 2.16 1.71 0.45
10 Houston Texans 2.02 1.69 0.33
11 Buffalo Bills 1.77 1.45 0.33
12 Arizona Cardinals 1.91 1.59 0.32
13 San Diego Chargers 2.18 1.92 0.26
14 Detroit Lions 1.71 1.49 0.22
15 Dallas Cowboys 2.27 2.05 0.22
16 Pittsburgh Steelers 2.41 2.26 0.15
17 Cleveland Browns 1.74 1.64 0.09
18 New Orleans Saints 2.54 2.52 0.02
19 Cincinnati Bengals 1.84 1.83 0.01
20 San Francisco 49ers 1.7 1.81 -0.11
21 Atlanta Falcons 2.16 2.28 -0.13
22 Minnesota Vikings 1.74 1.88 -0.14
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
26 Chicago Bears 1.85 2.51 -0.67
27 Washington Redskins 1.66 2.35 -0.69
28 Carolina Panthers 1.68 2.47 -0.79
29 Tennessee Titans 1.51 2.36 -0.85
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 1.24 2.25 -1.01
31 New York Jets 1.37 2.42 -1.05
32 Oakland Raiders 1.21 2.34 -1.13

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.

Weekly Summary

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
4 - - - - - Bye Week
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.

NFL OFFENSE Play Counts Ratings
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
77/110 RWR 11 Tavon Austin 36 2 18 16 0 0.4 -0.7 1 0 0 0 0.1
47/110 LWR 81 Kenny Britt * 46 0 23 23 0 0.2 0.1 0 0 0 0 0.1
50/125 TE-L 82 Alex Bayer 4 0 0 4 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0.1 0
33/67 C 61 Tim Barnes 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
63/70 QB 9 Austin Davis 6 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
42/138 HB 42 Trey Watts 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
179/206 LWR 13 Chris Givens 10 0 3 7 0 -0.1 -0.1 0 0 0 0 0
48/138 HB 30 Zac Stacy 10 6 1 2 1 -0.1 0 -0.2 0.1 0 0 0
103/138 HB 36 Benny Cunningham 8 1 7 0 0 -0.3 -0.1 -0.2 0 0 0 0
11/68 TE-R 89 Jared Cook 30 0 16 12 2 -0.5 -1 0 0.1 0.5 -0.2 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
57/133 LG 73 Mike Person 20 0 0 14 6 -1 -0.8 0 -0.3 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

NFL DEFENSE Play Counts Ratings
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
16/87 DLE 95 William Hayes 36 13 23 0 1.5 1.8 0.1 0 -0.4
30/78 DRT 98 Kendall Langford 46 13 33 0 1.5 1.1 0.3 0 0.1
25/86 SS 25 T.J. McDonald * 81 23 4 54 1.4 0.3 0.2 0.8 0.1
43/116 RCB 22 Trumaine Johnson 58 12 0 46 1.3 0.1 0 1.1 0.1
48/60 MLB 55 James Laurinaitis * 81 23 16 42 1 0.4 -0.3 0.8 0.1
68/87 DRE 97 Eugene Sims 36 13 23 0 1 -0.2 1.1 0 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
37/38 SLB 58 JoLonn Dunbar 14 9 2 3 -0.4 -0.8 -0.2 0.6 0
59/87 DLE 91 Chris Long * 40 9 31 0 -2.2 -0.7 -1.6 0 0.1


NFL SPECIAL TEAMS Ratings
RANK Pos. # Name Overall Kickoffs Punts FG/EP Penalty
3/34 P 6 Johnny Hekker 4.5 0 4.5 0 0
10/50 K 4 Greg Zuerlein 2 1.6 0 0.4 0
1055/1072 ST 53 Daren Bates 1 1 0 0 0
51/1072 ST 42 Trey Watts 1 1 0 0 0
168/1072 ST 38 Cody Davis 0.5 0.5 0 0 0
255/1072 ST 23 Rodney McLeod 0 0 0 0 0
375/1072 ST 11 Tavon Austin -1.9 0 -1.9 0 0

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