This is some 7-9 bull sh**.
The Los Angeles Rams offense hasn’t looked like this since Jeff Fisher was in the building. As it stands, it can be argued that the current version of the Sean McVay offense is worse. The 2012-2016 version of the Rams at least had the excuse of lacking talent. This version has had Matthew Stafford at quarterback, Cooper Kupp at wide receiver, and a former Pro Bowler on the other side in Allen Robinson.
This version of the McVay offense ranks 32nd in the NFL in EPA per play and 30th in total yards. The last time that the Rams offense struggled this much was under Fisher in 2016 and at least that team was starting a rookie quarterback.
While this version may come as a surprise, the McVay offense has been trending this way for awhile. The 2021 version clouded a reality of what some had begun to see. In three of the last four seasons, the Rams offense has ranked in the bottom-half of the NFL in EPA per play. If 2022 holds, it will have ranked inside the bottom-10 in two of the last three.
In 2017 and 2018, the Rams offense was sparked by running back Todd Gurley. Gurley won Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and likely would have won it again if not for knee injury in the middle of 2018. Last season, the offense was sparked by historic performances by both Stafford and Kupp on the team’s way to the Super Bowl.
During those seasons, the Rams also had offensive lines that ranked inside the top-10. In fact, the 2018 group was historically good.
Without offensive lines that rank inside the top-5 and historic performances from skill players on offense, the McVay scheme has struggled to function with any sort of efficiency.
In the last five seasons, the Rams will have as many seasons in the bottom-10 in offense EPA as they do in the top-10.
Rushing and passing efficiency on early downs.— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) November 15, 2022
-- Would you believe me if I told you the Falcons have the 2nd-most efficient early down passing offense?
-- The Rams, wow pic.twitter.com/hrdtLh0yxP
In the last five seasons, the Rams will have as many seasons in the bottom-10 in scoring as they do in the top-10.
Under McVay, the Rams have had very different versions of offense. They have the versions that we saw in 2017 and 2018 that took the NFL by storm. Defenses then started utilizing 6-1 defensive looks which shutdown the Rams’ ability to attack the perimeter with wide zone run schemes and play action.
We then have the versions in 2019 and 2020 that saw McVay struggle to counteract the 6-1 fronts. In 2021, the Rams went to more empty sets which helped bring back the explosive plays that they were lacking.
The NFL has once again adjusted in 2022 and McVay is once again struggling mightily. During the 2020 season, the Rams ranked 20th in the NFL in explosive play-rate. This season, the Rams rank 30th in the NFL in passes of 20 yards or more. With two-high looks, the NFL has once again taken away explosive plays from the Rams offense.
The result has been an offensive product that hasn’t been seen in Los Angeles since Fisher. Comparing the five years under Fisher to this McVay’s offense this season and the numbers are scary.
In 2022, the Rams offense is averaging fewer yards and points per game than all but one season under Fisher. In EPA per play and DVOA, the 2022 Rams offense is worse or comparable to the first three years under Fisher.
Through nine games, the Rams offense has failed to score 20 points or more in six of them. This number was matched or beaten by Fisher twice. The Rams scored 20 points or less in seven of their first nine games in 2016 and then six in 2014.
This season, the Rams offense leads the NFL in three-and-out rate. It’s by far the worst since the Fisher-era.
It should be no surprise then that the Rams currently sit at 3-6. It’s a record matched by Fisher in two of his five seasons.
While injuries and injuries specifically to the offensive line have certainly played a role, the Rams offense still shouldn’t be ranked last in the NFL behind teams led by Davis Mills, Kenny Pickett, and PJ Walker. Under Fisher, the Rams offensive line ranked higher than 22 in pass-blocking according to Pro Focus just once in 2013.
For the first time under McVay, offense looks hard. The scheme is disjointed and none of the pieces seem to be working together. The offense if full of pieces from a dozen different puzzles and not many of the pieces fit together.
This offense is as bad as it has been since Fisher left in 2016. McVay is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. He figured it out once before when defenses adjusted. The question is, can he do it again?