LA Rams turnovers now will cost team wins later

After five weeks, the LA Rams net turnovers are zero. That’s not a good start for a successful team

The LA Rams have heard them all. Fluke, bad luck, freak play. The cause of unfortunate turnovers in a game gets many labels. Still,  the LA Rams are five games into the 2020 NFL season, and they are doing well. Or so it seems with four wins and one loss. Even as the LA Rams record is worthy of pride, the Rams’ foundation of success is beginning to erode. Subtle erosion, the type of decay that few analysts or statisticians will notice and many will pooh-pooh as not worth worrying about. And yet, there it is. And it’s getting worse.

The harbinger of bad things to come is the Rams’ inability of this team to take the ball from their opponents as often as they gift possession to their opponents.  After three games, the Rams were at a plus-one on net turnovers. Now, after five games and two more victories, the Rams are at zero over net turnovers. The Rams are winning, yes. But the NFC East is not a very good division. The Rams are very content after beating up on the worst division in the NFL.

Ball security, not an afterthought

Wins are wins, and the Rams have won 80 percent of the games played so far. But the way the Rams are winning leaves the door open for concerns. The Rams field goal and extra points kicking game are among the lowest third of the NFL. Combine that with a zero or lower on net turnovers, and the Rams are creating impacts that the offense and defense must overcome to win games.

Turning the ball over is not always a bad thing, of course. If a quarterback gets hot and throws eight touchdowns to an interception in a game with no turnover by the opponent, the team emerges with a negative statistic on net turnovers, and that’s okay. The Rams four wins have come at the expense of the NFC East is a combined record of 4-15-1, with two of the four victories coming in intradivisional games.

Many roads to outscoring opponents

Feeling good about the Rams record so far? You should be. But don’t covert the optimism and pride into reckless disregard. The Rams are still working to improve this year. They need to win little battles: Turnovers, time of possession, field position. Little wins eventually translate into game wins.  But of the little battles, perhaps no one statistic is most indicative of success as net turnovers. Successful teams win the turnover battle, unsuccessful teams simply do not.

The Rams are playing well on the surface. There are plenty of reasons to believe in this team as a bona fide winner. After all, the Rams may have beaten up on bad teams, but a three-point loss on the road to an undefeated Buffalo Bills team defined the quality of the Rams. So no, it’s not time to abandon ship.

The team has sprung a leak with ball security, and it’s getting louder. Will it sink the team? Doubtful. But it’s something that can be addressed now and fixed before it becomes a problem. That needs to happen.  Until the Rams beat good teams and understand how good this team is, they should not leave anything to random chance.