There have undoubtedly been numerous conversations already among the decision-makers of the LA Rams organization, and those decisions clearly have decided that the best strategy for the team at this point in time is to downsize the Rams roster in terms of veteran players, with an eye to return to the NFL Free Agency market with some spending cash in 2024 or beyond.
While we did point out the fact that the LA Rams are unlikely to find another kicker in 2023 who can match the plug-and-play performance of Pro Bowler kicker Matt Gay, one of the readers of that article was kind enough to share some additional insight into the vale of Matt Gay to the Rams success. In short, he pointed out that without Matt Gay on the roster, the LA Rams may never have won Super Bowl LVI.
Matt Gay Competitive Index
So I wanted to test out that theory because I love intriguing insight. How many wins were directly influenced by Matt Gay's ability to kick accurately? So I set up a mental exercise, one that seems simple enough, to test the theory. Since arriving with the LA Rams, any games with close scores will trigger consideration for a Matt Gay Index. If the Rams won by a margin that was equal to or less than the number of points scored by Gay, Gay earns credit for the win.
Inversely, if the LA Rams lost a closely scored game, and the margin of victory could have been met had Matt Gay successfully kicked extra points, then Matt Gay earns credit for the loss. Yes, there is no way that I would argue one player as responsible for either wins or losses, but the objective is to determine the Rams competitive edge with Matt Gay on the Rams roster. All clear? Let's dig
Did Matt Gay give the LA Rams a competitive edge?
So let's dial back the calendar and examine the nuts and bolts of the Rams 2020, 2021, and 2022 schedules in terms of those games that were decided by Matt Gay:
2020 Regular Season - 1 win
W 11/23 vs. Buccaneers - The Rams won this one by a score of 27-24, and Gay contributed nine points with two field goals and three extra points.
2020 NFL Playoffs - 1 win
W 1/9 vs Seahawks - The Rams won this one by a score of 30-20. In the details of this game, the Rams relied on Matt Gay to kick three field goals and three extra points. 12 points.
2021 Regular Season - 5 wins
W 9/18 vs Colts - Rams win 27-24. Gay puts up 9 points
W 9/25 vs Buccaneers - Rams win 34-24. Gay puts up 10 points
W 12/23 vs Cardinals - Rams win 30-23. Gay puts up 12 points.
W 12/ 26 vs Vikings - Rams win 30-23. Gay puts up 12 points in this one.
W 1/2 vs Ravens - Rams win 20-19. While Gay missed his lone FG attempt, he did make two extra points, which proved to be the margin of victory.
2021 NFL Playoffs - 3 Wins
W 1/23 vs Buccaneers - The Rams continued winning in the Playoffs with a 30-27 victory. Matt Gay missed one FG, but hoofed three field goals and three extra points to score 12 points.
W 1/30 vs 49ers - The Rams finally defeat the 49ers by a score of 20-17, and Gay kicked two field goals and two extra points to put 8 points on the scoreboard.
W SB LVI vs Bengals - The LA Rams won this one by a score of 23-20. Thanks to Gay, who kicked a field goal and two extra points, the Rams win this one.
2022 Regular Season - 3 Wins
W 9/18 vs Falcons - The Rams won this game by a score of 31-27, and Matt Gay kicked a field goal and four extra points.|
W 9/25 vs Cardinals - The Rams defeated the Cards by a score of 20-12, and Matt Gay supplied the eight points with two field goals and two extra points that were the margin of victory
W 12/18 vs Raiders - The Rams defeated the Raiders by a score of 17-16 in a late-game comeback by quarterback Baker Mayfield. But it was Matt Gay's field goal and two extra points that sealed a win.
What did we learn from this exercise? Perhaps the most shocking discovery made was not the fact that the LA Rams can attribute nine regular season wins and four postseason wins to Matt Gay. Rather, the Rams cannot point to a single game that the team lost due to Gay's inability to kick the football through the uprights. By contrast, the Rams had at least one loss in seven games attributable to former kicker Sam Sloman.
Matt Gay never lost a game for the LA Rams. Will the team be able to sale the same about their next kicker? I, for one, certainly hope so.