The Rams continue to roll. It is something we have to get used to saying. After another big win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams stand atop the NFC West. Now, we compare the stats from this time last year when the Rams faced the New England Patriots.
2016 Rams at Patriots
Offense: The Rams continued their struggle to get into the end zone, finding it only once in a loss that saw them scoring a measly ten points.
Jared Goff had a hard time finding his targets as he only connected on 14 of his 32 attempts and passing for 161 yards. He threw one touchdown and two interceptions. The Patriots sacked Goff four times, exposing how weak the Rams offensive line was. Todd Gurley rushed 11 times for just 38 yards. Gurley finished with just 47 all-purpose yards on the day.
The offense completed just one of their 12 third down conversion attempts and had just seven first downs on the day and punted the ball eight times.
Defense: Usually one of the best units of the 2016 Rams team, the defense allowed 402 net yards and 26 points. They also had no sacks, interceptions, or forced fumbles on the day. Maurice Alexander and Michael Jordan led the team in tackles with five each. Patriot wide receiver, Julian Edelman, amassed 101 yards on eight receptions. Patriots converted seven of their 15 third down conversion attempts and had an average gain of five yards per play.
Special teams: Johnny Hekker had a 52.9-yard punting average including a booming 76 yarder. Greg Zuerlein was 100 percent on kicks, one extra point and one 44 yard field goal.
2017 Rams at Cardinals
Offense: The Rams continued their offensive scoring dominance putting up 33 points in a win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Jared Goff completed 21 of his 31 attempts for 220 total passing yards which saw him hit the 3000 yards passing mark on the season. He also had 2 touchdown passes and one interception. Goff was sacked just one time on the night. Todd Gurley rushed 19 times for 74 yards and had eight receptions for 84 yards, finishing the day with 158 all-purpose yards.
The offense completed three of their 10 third down conversion attempts and had 10 first downs punting the ball just 4 times.
Defense: The Rams defense allowed a total of 312 net yards on the day. Ethan Westbrooks and Aaron Donald both had two sacks each and the defense had a combined six total. They also had two interceptions, one by Alec Ogletree which went to the house for six points. Trumaine Johnson led the team with seven tackles. The Cardinals averaged five yards per offensive play and converted 46 percent of their third-down conversion attempts.
Special Teams: Johnny Hekker had a 48.8 punting average including another 70-yard boomer. Greg Zuerlein was four for four on field goal attempts including one 56 yard attempt.
This year’s Rams offense continues to be a powerhouse. They scored in every single quarter and scored 16 points in the first quarter alone. Goff and Gurley are the driving forces in this offense, but it is safe to say that every offensive player has a big impact on the improvement the Rams have seen this year.
The Rams defensive unit continues to improve and have big plays when they are needed the most. Whether it is an interception or a sack or scoring defensive points, this defensive unit is also thriving. Despite the Cardinals having more net yards, they had fewer points. Not allowing teams to get into the end zone is an important part of this team’s victory.
To say that the special teams unit is improved is an understatement. Not only are they improved, but they are an important part of this team. Zuerlein accounted for 14 of the Rams 33 points and is almost certain to hit a field goal if the Rams get inside the 50-yard line. Also, he is on pace to beat the single-season scoring record, and not by a little.
Rams fans must wallow in the misery of last year in order to truly appreciate the improvement they have seen this year. With some of the more difficult opponents behind them, Rams fans can actually look forward to next week’s game. It will certainly not be easy, but this team is good and should be able to compete.