During the 2020 season, the Los Angeles Rams converted 57.8% of their red zone trips into touchdowns, a subpar ranking at 19th in the NFL. If Week 1 is any indication, LA will drastically improve in scoring touchdowns in the red zone, providing the defense more cushion than in previous campaigns.
Each week, I’ll be covering how the Rams performed in the red zone, how that compares to the rest of the league, and if it needs fixing, identifying the key problem areas to avoid a subpar ranking in the future.
The LA Rams scored touchdowns on two of their three visits (66.6%) inside the Chicago Bears 20-yard line in Week 1.
The Rams mixed up their play selection with six passes and four runs. After only scoring on a Matt Gay field goal on their first red zone opportunity, LA scored on a two-yard strike in the back of the end zone to Robert Woods, while Darrell Henderson punched it in from the one, to put the Rams ahead 27-14 late in the third quarter.
Unreal snag by Robert Woods pic.twitter.com/XmhQidpeXf— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 13, 2021
The ball was distributed fairly evenly on the six passing attempts. Woods and Cooper Kupp both got two targets each, while Darrell Henderson and Tyler Higbee each got one look in the red zone from Matthew Stafford. Henderson took all four of the red zone carries.
The first trip inside the red zone was the most pass heavy possession of the three, probably due to losing two yards on their first carry. On the final play of the possession, Stafford maneuvered within the pocket, missing an open Woods in the front of the end zone. It’s a throw and catch that is probably completed more times than not, as the offensive chemistry continues to build.
The second red zone possession was much more efficient, with the Rams only needing two plays to put a touchdown on the board. They initially scored on the first play inside the 20, on a catch and run by Kupp, but it was overturned, as Krupp’s knee hit the ground as he stretched for the goal line. This was followed by the aforementioned one yard plunge from Henderson on third down.
Similar to the previous possession, the run to pass ratio was perfectly balanced at 50%. My favorite takeaway on this possession was Los Angeles’ ability to convert two third down attempts. If the Rams can combine consistent red zone touchdowns with the new look explosive offense, hosting a Super Bowl in SoFi stadium may be a realistic expectation after all.
Up next: Scoring red zone touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts defense surrendered two red zone touchdowns in as many possessions, not including a beautiful 23-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett and the Seattle Seahawks from just outside the red zone.
The Colts were atrocious with their backs against the wall, allowing those two touchdowns on only four plays.
On one hand, it’s encouraging that the Seahawks had such success against the Colts when it counted most, as Seattle now shares significant similarities in offensive schemes and philosophies after hiring former Los Angeles Rams pass game coordinator as their offensive coordinator.
However, with playing Seattle one week before playing LA, it’s almost as if the Colts had an extra week to play against a comparable scheme, see how they executed their original game plan against it, make their adjustments, and play against the scheme for a second week in a row.
There is no doubt that Indianapolis will prioritize red zone defense during practice this week, as they prepare for Stafford and a red hot Rams offense. If both respective offensive and defensive units continue on their current trajectory in the red zone, this game may get out of hand.
If Colts play Play soft cover 2 again in the red zone, it’s a blowout. It seemed like the Colts didn’t wanna play because the Seahawks were playing too rough.— IndianaSportsWatcher (@IndianaWatcher) September 13, 2021
Who do you see as LA’s best target in the red zone this weekend?