LA Rams: Let’s make ball security a priority in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

We can talk about scoring points, defending the run and the pass, or even kicking those long-range field goals with deadly accuracy. But if we are truly going to knuckle down to the problems experienced by the LA Rams offense in 2020, at some point the discussion must be made about the nightmarish willingness of the team to cough up the ball at what seemed to be the worst possible moments in a game.

The team threw 14 interceptions and coughed up the ball another 11 times, gift-wrapping the football for their opportunistic defensive opponents. They placed the Rams as the seventh-most generous team in the entire NFL at giving away the ball. That is not a way to create victories in the NFL. In fact, it likely contributed to several losses in the regular season.

The LA Rams gave the ball away to the Buffalo Bills twice and lost that game by the score of 35-32.  The LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff threw an interception in the first meeting with the division rival San Francisco 49ers, and the team lost that game 24-16.  In a brutally ugly game against the Miami Dolphins, the offense coughed up the ball four times, twice by interception, and twice by losing the handle and fumbling, and the Rams only lost that game by a score of 28-17.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

Four more turnovers cost the Rams a game in a 23-20 loss to the 49ers. An interception contributed to the Rams losing to the NY Jets 23-20. Finally, Goff through an interception in a loss to the rival Seattle Seahawks by a score of 20-9. While it is virtually impossible to play the “What if” mental exercise, there is enough reason to suspect that a failure to exercise ball security cost the Rams as many as four games in 2020.

Of the 25 turnovers, the LA Rams, unfortunately, can point to one player on offense, quarterback Jared Goff, as the main culprit. He threw 13 interceptions and fumbled the ball a ridiculous seven times. Now the question is, can Matthew Stafford do better? Well, comparing his 2020 statistics with that of Jared Goff suggests that he can. Goff turned the ball over 20 times, while Stafford only gift-wrapped the football 12 times over the course of the season.

The even better news is that while Goff tossed just 20 TDs, Stafford hurled 26 touchdowns. On that characteristic alone, the LA Rams are in a much better position in 2021. Not only does the offense have a better chance to score, but the defense may not find itself so quickly back onto the field due to an offensive mistake.

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A small difference? Perhaps. But line up the scores of those losses in 2020, and you find that a field goal was the difference in three of the Rams’ losses. The team needs to find the handle on the football and keep it this year.