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As Los Angeles Rams defense improves, is best yet to come?

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Things are starting to even out defensively, as the Rams are a downright average defense even with their struggling run defense.

Los Angeles Rams v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Upon conclusion of week 11 in the NFL season, I wrote about how the Los Angeles Rams’ defense wasn’t good, but wasn’t bad either. Matter of fact, it was explicitly written to try and justify the defense as a downright average defense in 2018.

Some of the numbers didn’t shake out accordingly, but that had more to do with the tough stretch the Rams just came off as they had played the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs just prior.

Fast forward three weeks and here we are. Let’s compare how the numbers looked after week 11, and how they look now in week 15:

Week 11:

  • 25.6 points per game (23rd in the league)
  • 119.9 rushing yards per game (22nd in the league)
  • 5.2 yards per rush (32nd in the league)
  • 252.6 passing yards per game (20th in the league)
  • 7.4 yards per pass (25th in the league)
  • 2.6 sacks per game (14th in the league)
  • 1.8 takeaways per game (6th in the league)

Current:

  • 24.1 points per game (18th in the league)
  • 124.2 rushing yards per game (23rd in the league)
  • 5.1 yards per rush (32nd in the league)
  • 237.5 passing yards per game (14th in the league)
  • 7.0 yards per pass (17th in the league)
  • 2.6 sacks per game (17th in the league)
  • 1.9 takeaways per game (3rd in the league)

Lastly, Football Outsiders had the Rams’ defense ranked 16th in their defensive DVOA statistic. They’re currently ranked 12th.

As you can see, the defense improved in almost every category. The rush defense actually dropped a bit, but at this point in the season it’s entirely safe to say they aren’t good at stopping the run, as those are just the facts of the situation. The pass defense on the other hand has increased their production, and some of that can absolutely be attributed to the return of CB Aqib Talib and the revival of CB Marcus Peters. Some of the difference should also be contributed to how the schedule shook out. Obviously the defensive statistics can be skewed to look worse depending on who they play, and can be boosted if facing a weak opponent.

Let’s keep our eyes open for these remaining three weeks, as none of the remaining offenses on the schedule are known to be offensive threats (Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers). The defense really has a chance to come to a late-season resurgence that ensures they land in the top-10 of most categories when comparing defenses (outside of run defense). The confidence and consistently solid performances defensively might build up enough steam and carryover into the NFL playoffs.