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Rams were the biggest underachiever in 2022

Football Outsiders names the Rams the underachieving team in 2022

Los Angeles Rams v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the 2022 season didn’t go as planned for the Los Angeles Rams. Between injuries, off-the-field drama, and a plethora of other issues, the Rams finished 5-12 and well below their preseason expectation.

On Wednesday, Football Outsiders released their biggest DVOA underachievers in 2022 and to no real surprise, the Rams topped the list. Here’s what Bryan Knowles from Football Outsiders had to say.

“It would be unfair to say that the Rams’ stars-and-scrubs plan doesn’t work—after all, they have a Super Bowl championship, and that will never go away. But it would be fair to say that it would work better in Madden, where you can just flip the injury slider to “off.”...Not to say that Los Angeles’ only troubles were injuries, mind you. They desperately needed a complementary pass rusher across from Leonard Floyd, as the inability to gain pressure rushing only four led to them blitzing plenty, which in turn left their cornerbacks on islands far too often. Allen Robinson did not exactly spark a career resurgence with his move to L.A. The offensive line was struggling even before everyone got hurt. After years of their deals seeming to always work out, the Rams were running out of answers even when they had all their starters on the field. It’s just that that lasted about 45 seconds before the training room started to fill up. Hopefully the Rams will realize that their issues go beyond the inactive list and start to repair the damage to their depth caused by going all-in. At least they’ll have a trophy to look at while they do so.”

Entering the 2022 season, the Rams had a projected DVOA of 10.4% and +1.28 standard deviations according to Football Outsiders. However, they finished with just a DVOA of -11.0% and -0.68 standard deviations for a difference of -1.97.

Of course injuries were a big part of the reason the Rams underachieved. In the explanation, Football Outsiders touches on the Rams setting a record for injuries on the offensive line and their total adjusted games lost of 146.6.

With that said, Knowles does make another very good point. The Rams’ issues in 2022 also went beyond the injuries. Two things can be true here at the same time. Yes, injuries derailed the Rams’ season before it even started. However, the Rams also had a multitude of other issues that went beyond the injuries.

The Rams lacked a pass rusher opposite of Leonard Floyd all season. Aaron Donald was a constant threat on the interior, but outside of Donald and Floyd, they lacked a consistent pass rush. Because of this, the secondary was left exposed to big plays as was seen immediately in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.

On offense, the Rams struggled to get Allen Robinson involved in the offense and became one dimensional and predictable in the passing game.

Would the Rams have gone 5-12 and been the biggest underachiever in the 2022 season had they even stayed 20 percent healthier? Probably not. The Rams likely end up in the middle of the pack somewhere.

With much of the NFL now down on the Rams heading into the 2023 season, can the Rams flip the script and overachieve next season in what will be a “remodel” year?