Although our secondary may be the highlight to most of RamsNation, the true success of the Rams has come through special teams. Before the massive injury plague hit in 2011, the Rams defense was still keeping St. Louis in the game. However, the team was still losing the game in the other two phases, leading the 2-14 season. In the first matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams were able to push the game into overtime, but lost after allowing a punt return for a touchdown by the Cards’ Patrick Peterson. Jeff Wilkins was only hitting 75% on field goals, most of which were in the 40-49 yard range, leaving the Rams with the lowest points-per-game total in the NFL. Now, the coverage units are stopping ball carrier before the big gains, or at least stopping them before a touchdown. Johnny Hekker is murdering the ball on punts, not allowing big returns from Devin Hester or Leon Washingtion, two of the premier returners in the league. Greg Zuerlein is… well, he is Greg Zuerlein. Here is how to the special teams are doing so far this year:
Combined total kicking yards by the punting and field goal units this season. A majority of those are coming from Johnny Hekker’s 839 yards punting, which is the 15th highest amount in the league, averaging 46.6 yards per attempt.
Total yards kicked on field goals by Greg ‘the Leg’ in his 12 successful attempts. Zuerlein is averaging 44.1 yards per field goal, which is the highest average in the league
Field goal percentage for Greg Zuerlein so far this season. He is one of only 15 place kickers who are perfect on the year, and of those 15, has, by far, the most attempts
Touchback percentage by Greg Zuerlein, booting 11 for 21 without a return. Of kickers with 10 or more field goals, he easily has the highest kickoff attempt-to-touchback ratio.
Points by Greg Zuerlein this year, which accounts for 51.9% of the total points. And, if you give credit to Hekker instead of Amendola for the touchdown, the special teams have accounted for 79.6% of the points.
Percentage of total touchdown passes thrown by special teams. If this were at the end of the season it would be a little more concerning. However, the Rams only have 5 passing touchdowns, one coming from Hekker to Amendola against the Seahawks last Sunday.
Field goals made by LegaTron this season, which is tied for the highest total in the league with Detroit’s Jason Hanson.
Average punt return yards from Johnny Hekker punts, which is in the upper tier of the NFL. Given the special team units that the Rams have played so far this season, it is astonishing that this number is not higher.
Number of 50+ yard field goals by the St. Louis Rams. The is tied for second in the NFL, behind only Cleveland Browns Phil Dawson, who has 4.
Field goals or punts blocked by a St. Louis Ram opponent through four games. The Rams, on the other hand, blocked a huge punt against the Washington Redskins that led to a go-ahead touchdown to Mulligan from Bradford.
Touchdowns allowed on special team, both on punt and kick returns. To see how truly important this number is, just look at the 1-3 Detroit Lions, who have given up a kick and punt return touchdown in two consecutive games.