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Rams have number one scoring defense in second half, fourth quarter

LA has been a second half team, but they aren’t that bad in the first half either

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In the first half of games this season, the LA Rams have scored 67 points and allowed 67 points. Despite a 17 point advantage in the first quarter of their five games to this point, the Rams have a 17 point disadvantage in the second quarter, which is when they’ve allowed 50 points, eighth-most of any team in the league. Fortunately, LA has been the toughest team in the league to score on after the halftime show.

Which in 2020 means a temperature check and two episodes of something on Quibi.

The Rams and Baltimore Ravens have both allowed 23 second half points, tied for the fewest of any team in the league. The only teams that are even close are the Denver Broncos (38 points allowed), Pittsburgh Steelers (39) and Tennessee Titans (40) and none of those teams have played in five games; the Titans have still only played in three.

The closest team that has played in five games is the Indianapolis Colts and they’ve allowed 41 points in the second half, almost double that of LA and Baltimore.

For the Ravens, their greatest strength has been in the third quarter; John Harbaugh’s defense hasn’t given up a point in that period yet. At 4-1, Baltimore ranks first in points allowed, sixth in yards allowed, sixth in net yards per pass attempt allowed and fifth in yards per carry allowed. Offensively, the Ravens are first in yards per carry by 25th in yards per pass attempt. They held the Cleveland Browns to six points in Week 1 (and the Browns have been an elite offense ever since) and the Cincinnati Bengals to three on Sunday.

But the Rams have done their best work in the fourth quarter, giving up 13 points over five quarters of that kind of football in 2020.

LA held a 32-28 lead over the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, but allowed a touchdown pass from Josh Allen with :21 seconds left. They also gave up fourth quarter field goals to the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. That’s been it for fourth quarter scoring. In Week 1, they held off three Dak Prescott drives to keep the Dallas Cowboys from even getting the field goal attempt they needed to tie the game.

The Rams have allowed only 10 points in the third quarter and the only other second half touchdown was another one from Allen. That drive started at midfield after Sean McVay, Jared Goff and company failed to convert a 4th and 4 attempt.

QBs against the Rams:

1st half: 72.3-percent completions, 588 yards, 7.1 Y/A, 3 TD, 0 INT, 103.9 rating, eight sacks

2nd half: 57.7-percent completions, 532 yards, 5.5 Y/A, 2 TD, 3 INT, 67 rating, 12 sacks

The Rams are allowing more yards per carry in the second half (5.3 to 4.2) but they’ve given up five rushing touchdowns in the first half and none after the break. It’s fair to assume that they could also be more lax about giving up runs during their second half leads. Though they’re also the best first quarter offense in the NFL, LA is outscoring opponents 69-23 in the second half, best point differential in the league after halftime.

Sean McVay is close to having his team at their best in all four quarters.