Optical Illusion: How bad was the LA Rams defense?

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Aaron Donald Von Miller
Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have been a mixed bag on the defensive side of the ball in 2021. Unfortunately, the Rams defense has been compared to that of the 2020 defense virtually every week. Not on a holistic approach whatsoever. Rather, the analysis has run the gamut of deciding that the defense of the 12-5 team is much worse than the previous year’s 10-6 team and then citing circumstances and reasons why.

But that comparison is flawed in several ways. First and foremost, our memories tend to gravitate to the more recent events of the past.  In this situation, many fans recall how the LA Rams defense single-handedly dismantled the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16, and have only a vague recollection of how the same Rams defense allowed 35 points in a loss to the Buffalo Bills on Week 3.

We construct our memories to fit our version of history. If you doubt that, simply listen to two divorced people separately share what brought about the end of their marriage. We construct recollections in a loosely fitted net of narrative, retaining that which supports it, and discarding that evidence that runs counter to our storyline.

We saw what we wanted to see

Whether or not the circumstances were real, fictitious, or a mixture of fact and fiction, we end up with our version of ‘history’.  For example, did you realize that the LA Rams 2020 defense averaged 26.0 points allowed per game? How about the fact that the 2021 defense has averaged just 18.3 points allowed per game?

For whatever reason, many of us have lost our sense of patience and of moderation. As we’ve walled ourselves up in like-think groups, we’ve become far more dependent on being right than being accurate. We’ve lost the ability, or willingness, to sit back and observe. Rather, we make instant conclusions with imperfect information that we then broadcast on social media.

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Over time, those perceptions become the narrative regardless of whether true or false. Anyone foolish enough to object, to offer alternative conclusions or opinions, are dealt with swiftly. We must be right, after all. Why bother with accuracy?