Defense watching: Trying to spot an effective LA Rams defense

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams defense
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Scoring defense

The Rams have been rather stingy when it comes to giving up points so far this year. After four games, the Rams have surrendered a total of 80 points, or an average of just 20 points-per-game. While the Rams have allowed an unimpressive 350+ yards per game, the 20 points-per-game allowed is good for the fifth most effective defense in the NFL. Only the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers have been more effective.

What is even more impressive is that the Rams have done so despite facing two of the top five scoring offenses in the NFL in the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills. To place things into perspective, the 49ers defense has faced the New York Giants, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles, none of whom are among the top 22 scoring offenses in the NFL.

Defense means stop them from scoring

There are countless ways to measure defensive proficiency. But the bottom line is that defenses stop opponents from scoring.  With the exception of the game against the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, the Rams average giving up just 15 points a game in three victories. And the other common element in the three wins? The LA Rams allowed just three points to each opponent in the second half.

Of course, the Rams slipped mightily against the Bills. But that was the second consecutive game to the east coast, they were a hot offense playing at home.  The Rams lost starting safety Jordan Fuller in that game, and Taylor Rapp really did not have a good game in his place.  And the fact that the Rams lost one in that way means that they can face similar games going forward that get away from them. In any NFL season, offenses will pry at the Rams defense until they discover something that is effective. Then it is up to the Rams to stop it.

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Right now, the Rams defense is doing a pretty good job. There is absolutely room to get better, but that will come. As of now, the Rams are 2/3rds of the way there.