Even at 2.3 YPC, 3 reasons why LA Rams rushing attack was brutally effective

Los Angeles Rams Cam Akers
Los Angeles Rams Cam Akers / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Over the years, the value of running backs in the NFL has eroded to the point where even the most accomplished stars in that position struggled to find a team to play for or a contract with the price they want to play. Perhaps the LA Rams contributed to that trend by winning Super Bowl LVI with next to nothing out of the ground game.

Since the 2018 NFL season, the LA Rams ground game has been less excellent and more satisfactory to needs improvement. In 2020, the Rams had a satisfactory rushing attack, but it required a blend of rookie RB Cam Akers, second-year RB Darrell Henderson Jr., and veteran RB Malcolm Brown.

The LA Rams rushing attack did not seem to be very effective in Week 1. The Rams rushed 40 times for just 92 yards, which works out to a statistically disappointing 2.3 yards per run. But that's the difference between the prevalence of Data Analytics versus the analog measures of success. What do I mean?

Rams rushed for more yards than Seahawks

Let's boil it down, To start, we should carve out the three runs by Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford for 11 yards. That gives the Rams 37 carries for 81 yards on the ground. Following the same methodology, the Seattle Seahawks ran 18 times for 85 yards with QB Geno Smith, but 17 times for 79 yards without him.

The Rams put up 81 rushing yards to the Seahawks 79 rushing yards. Nobody thought that would happen in this one. The Rams running offense is simply not respected, particularly in a head to head comparison to the Seahawks ground game. But perhaps more than that, nobody expected this Rams defensive front to hold the Seahawks entire rushing offense to under 100 yards on the ground, let alone Seahawks leading rusher Kenneth Walker III to under 70 rushing yards in this one.

Don't overlook the fact that the LA Rams switched to their rushing offense with 3:16 left in the game. Over that last drive (which resulted in the LA Rams scoring on a field goal), the Rams rushed RB Cam Akers eight times for a total of seven yards. But during that series, the Rams were able to get the Seahawks defense on two encroachment penalties and one unnecessary roughness penalty.

That was an effective offensive possession, taking over three minutes off the clock and leaving the Seahawks with just 11 seconds to go in the game. And the Rams put up three points, to nail the outcome of the game.