The 2019 season didn’t go as planned for the Los Angeles Rams, but with the help of in-depth statistics, we can begin to see where things went right, and where they went wrong.
With the help of a great resource such as Pro Football Reference, I’ve gathered five interesting offensive stats from the 2019 season.
Here they are:
If you’re looking for the best support system for a quarterback — at least in terms of receiving, there probably isn’t a better situation than the Rams. The team is absolutely loaded with weapons ranging from receivers, to tight ends, to running backs. If you don’t believe me, well, look at their ability to create yards-after-catch (YAC). The Rams led the league in YAC yardage with 2,106 yards, clearing the next-closest team by 50 yards.
WR Robert Woods led the team with 576 YAC, with Cooper Kupp (538) and TE Tyler Higbee (396) rounding out the top-three.
If you’re squeamish, look away. QB Jared Goff (and the Rams as a whole) was 2nd in the league in “poor throws” with 124 of his attempts registering in this category, trailing only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions by one attempt.
Clearly, the year didn’t go as planned for the signal-caller that just recently led his team to a Super Bowl, but that can be attributed to a myriad of factors. Goff’s regression is at the forefront, though his offensive line’s ability — or lack thereof — to pass protect and the inactive state of the running game provided little help.
For reference sake: Goff only had 93 “poor throws” in 2018.
The raw number of on-target throws (would have hit the intended receiver) for Goff seems like a great amount as he had 438 on-target throws — which was good for 5th in the league, but he only registered 71.2% of his throws as on-target throws, a figure that places him at 28th in the league.
For an offense that was built on staying ahead of the chains and routinely picking up chunk plays, this figure isn’t great.
Even though most would agree the Rams didn’t have optimal pass protection, they were tied for 2nd (with five other teams) for the average time the QB had in the pocket between the snap and throwing the ball or pressure collapsing the pocket with an average of 2.6 seconds per throw.
Now, that figure doesn’t necessarily mean the pass protection was good, but it does make you think twice about why the Rams weren’t more successful offensively. Some of the teams tied with the Rams were rather successful throwing the ball, though a lot of teams in the league do employ mobile QB’s who are capable of maneuvering pockets, scrambling, and buying time/space to create different launch points at a superior rate to a prototypical pocket-passing QB like Goff.
RPO’s — or run-pass options as they’re formally called — are exactly what they sound like. The QB receives the snap in a shotgun formation, and then has the option to either hand the ball off to his running back or to pull the ball out of his RB’s gut (sort of like a quick play action) and then throw a quick pass. The offensive line blocks the play as a running play regardless, which means the onus is on the QB to pull the ball and release the pass in time prior to offensive lineman working too far downfield.
There are different ways of deploying RPO’s, such as pre-snap box-counts or post-snap reads, but it doesn’t really matter at this juncture because the Rams ran the 2nd least amount of RPO’s (5 plays) in the league this season. The Rams topped only the last-placed Minnesota Vikings by one RPO.
Now, this offense will never evolve into an RPO-based one, and it shouldn’t, but with how much success some teams have had around the league using RPO’s, why not at least incorporate them more? It becomes much easier to run an RPO if you have an RB threat and WR’s who can create YAC (the Rams have both).
For comparison’s sake, the Oakland Raiders ran the 4th least amount of RPO’s with 22 and the San Francisco 49ers ranked 7th least with 34 RPO’s. The reason these two teams were singled out? Well, Head Coach Sean McVay’s scheme was based on the Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan trees.
That’s all for the interesting stats, at least offensively. Feel free to open up PFREF and explore their site as they have a boatload of awesome and interesting info available for free.