Los Angeles Rams 2021 Team Study

Part 29 of my 32-part series breaking down every team’s performance in 2021. Check out part 28 here: Las Vegas Raiders. Part 30 now available: San Francisco 49ers.


Eff. Rating Adj. Rating Rank
5.51 +0.52 5th

Offensive Eff. Rating (blue and yellow) v. opponent average allowed (grey).

Pass EPA Rush EPA Adj. Pass Rate
4th 19th 9th

Sean McVay finally got his quarterback. Matthew Stafford came into an established scheme with two skills that Jared Goff lacked: reading defenses and throwing deep with confidence. McVay needed a quarterback who could react to what defenses put on the field, both before the play and while the play developed. Those who have actually watched the Lions play over the years expected Stafford to thrive. And that’s exactly what happened.

Despite spending a lot of time in the pocket letting plays develop deep, the Rams allowed the 2nd-lowest pressure rate in the NFL. The offensive line deserves some credit for this, but pressure rate is also significantly impacted by the quarterback and the scheme. For example, when a quarterback sees before the snap where the pressure could be coming from, he can switch up protections to give himself more time. And a good coach will give the quarterback these options in each formation. The Rams passing offense was simply well-executed at each level.

Their run game was awful. They had the biggest gap between passing EPA/play and rushing EPA/play in the league. Fortunately, running doesn’t win championships in today’s NFL so they overcame this weakness. They also were more of a downfield passing team than a catch-and-run team. As a result, they didn’t play quite as well against teams that gave up a log of yards after the catch. Chart A shows the Rams’ offensive Adj. Eff. Rating by each opponent ranked by its yards after the catch per completion allowed on the season. Their quality of performance trended negatively against teams that gave up a lot of yards after the catch.

Chart A

Outside of the run game, the Rams had two weaknesses on offense. First, Stafford’s aggressiveness led to some negative plays. He got away with one against the 49ers in the playoffs when Jaquiski Tartt dropped an easy interception. But his turnovers were costly earlier in the year too, most notably in an ugly 28-16 loss to the Titans. This is an acceptable trade-off in the long run, because this aggressiveness is what allowed the Rams to succeed in the first place. But it did lead to some inconsistency and risk.

Second, the offense was reliant on its top two wide receivers. Cooper Kupp absolutely smashed, and they were fine as long as they had either Robert Woods or Odell Beckham, Jr. on the other side. But things got dicey in the Super Bowl after OBJ went down, and it raises concern about what would happen if Kupp got hurt. They lost OBJ and Woods permanently now, but replaced them with Allen Robinson. If Robinson and Kupp can stay healthy, there is no reason to anticipate a drop-off for this offense. It is the type of passing game that can sustain success. But if one or both get hurt, the floor could be low.

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