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Rams analytics: McVay’s offense struggling on early downs

A look at some early season stats, including L.A.’s Super Bowl odds

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams now rank 22nd on DVOA, two weeks after they ranked 32nd and one week after ranking 29th. The Rams are slowly climbing up the charts after back-to-back wins following an early season defeat to the Buffalo Bills.

According to FootballOutsiders, the Rams are 18th in offensive efficiency, 16th in defensive efficiency, and 31st in special teams efficiency.

The Rams offense is 16th in passing DVOA and 14th in rushing DVOA. The Rams defense ranks 22nd against the pass by DVOA, and fourth against the run. DVOA, defense-adjusted value over average, gives a score based on down, distance, time, and situation, to calculate how efficient each play is.

Most stats already do show that the Rams are a bit better in run defense than pass defense thus far in the season. L.A. is 30th in rushing yards on offense and 28th in yards per carry, but they rank above average by DVOA. One reason for that could be that the Rams have not run the ball very often, they are only 26th in rush attempts.

Here are some more advanced stats as he we head into Week 4.

Rams offense - Below average in pass & rush efficiency on early downs

According to Ben Baldwin, the Rams rank below average in run EPA/play, but well below average in EPA per dropback by Matthew Stafford. The pass offense actually has to catch up to the run offense.

Rams - 5% chance to win the Super Bowl

The Rams have a 12-percent chance to reach the Super Bowl and a five-percent chance to win it. It is early in the season, too early, but right now L.A. ranks behind the Eagles, Packers, and Bucs in the NFC. Who would have had the Bengals with Super Bowl odds at this time a year ago?

Rams O better on third down than first, second down

By this metric, the Rams are slightly above average in EPA (estimated points added) on third and fourth down, but well below average on first and second downs. This lines up with Stafford’s splits: He has a 78.2 passer rating on first down, 68.2 on second down, and 125.3 on third down. He has thrown all five of his interceptions on early downs.

Scoring is down

Scoring is down all over in the NFL because passing has been a little tougher to do early this season.

Rams completed air yards / completion - 30th

According to Pro-Football-Reference, the Rams are averaging 4.5 air yards per completion, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Only the Cardinals and Packers rank lower. Stafford is averaging 6.9 intended air yards per completion (all passes, not just completed ones) and that is tied with Josh Allen for 21st.

Stafford has been blitzed 17 times—that’s second-fewest blitzes faced in the NFL. Justin Fields has only been blitzed nine times.

The Rams are one of two teams, along with the Falcons, to have no broken tackles on runs this season. By comparison, the Bears lead the league with 15. The Rams only have one broken tackle on receptions also—only the Seahawks and Jaguars have zero.