10 reasons to believe LA Rams defense makes the difference this year

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams game day
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams defense has quietly climbed to the top of the NFL ranks. Here are 10 reasons to believe that makes a difference this year.

To be fair, there was more hope than logic to believe in the LA Rams defense for the 2020 NFL season. The team had historically been a middle-of-the-pack defense, was at the cusp of losing key defensive stars, and was hitched to an offense that struggled mightily.  While injuries accounted for offensive struggles, the defense did not have similar concrete factors.  Then the Rams reset their expectations, and philosophy, by hiring rookie defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.

The LA Rams defense has faced some of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL this season. And in week nine, the defense was tested by arguably the best quarterback and the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. Not only did the defense pass, but it passed with flying colors. That outcome proved to be most fortunate because the belief that the game against the Seattle Seahawks would turn into a shooting match never really developed.

Bye-bye bye week

Instead, the Rams held the Seahawks’ offense in check. Then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense in check. And then, the defense not only held the San Francisco 49ers in check but added three turnovers and a score to boot. Unfortunately, the offense gave the ball away four times. Of the 23 points surrendered, an argument can be made that the offense’s mishandling of the ball accounted for 16 points. Cie la vie.

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On the road, the team has followed a different script. Whether jet lag or just on-the-road jitters, the team has struggled to match the same intensity on the East Coast. That’s not to say that the team rolls over and plays dead. The Rams did play a helluva game to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. But how does this defense tick?