Reviewing the St. Louis Rams 2009 Season

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (39) yells in frustration after being stopped for a 5-yard loss during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in St. Louis. The Rams lost the game, 28-6, to finish the season 1-15. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Before the 2009 NFL regular season began, I wrote a handful of season previews for a few teams. Since I started the blog in July, I really didn’t have enough time to do all 32 teams. However, I should have enough time to complete a season review of all of the teams. At least, that is what I am planning. We’ll see if I get through them all. With that said, this is the first review. For teams in the playoffs, a review would not be complete without including where they finished, particularly if they win the Super Bowl. For that reason, I am beginning with the teams with the worst records first and working my way up to those that made the playoffs. At 1-15, the Saint Louis Rams will have the first pick in this year’s draft, so I will cover them first.

In these posts, I will follow a somewhat set formula. That formula will be to first look at the team’s Offensive and Defensive values and ranks for total yards, points, passing and rushing. This will give a general feel for the team’s season. The next step will be a set of tables that will compare the team’s points scored and allowed as well as their total yards, and passing and rushing yards, gained and allowed for each game. These values will be compared with the respective opponent’s corresponding averages, with the differences between the team’s value and the opponent’s average calculated. Finally, I included a sum of the differences for the entire season. This should give a good indication of how the team’s various units performed with respect to their opposition as well as which units performed better or worse. (Note: All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference.com)

With that background description, let’s see how the Rams performed this season. First, we’ll look at their raw numbers in terms of offensive and defensive yards and league rankings.

Team Offense Value Rank   Team Defense Value Rank
Points 175 32   Points 436 31
Yards 4470 29   Yards 5965 29
Cmp 312   Cmp 315
Att 543   Att 491
Pass Yards 2686 28   Pass Yards 3764 25
NY/A 4.6 31   NY/A 7.3 31
Pass TD 12 29   Pass TD 22 14
Pass INTs 21 28   Pass INTs 8 31
Rush Yards 1784 20   Rush Yards 2201 27
Rush TD 4 32   Rush TD 24 31
Y/A 4.3 11   Y/A 4.4 20
Sacks 44 26   Sacks 25 30

Table 1

Well, as one might expect for a 1-15 team, the Rams have weaknesses everywhere. They rank in the bottom 4 in almost every category, both offensively and defensively. The only real bright spot was Steven Jackson’s rushing. He was largely responsible for their healthy rushing average of 4.3 yards per attempt. They were also in the top half defensive passing TDs allowed, but that was probably because teams could just run the ball at will on them.

Now that we’ve looked at the general overview, let’s look at the game by game statistical tables. Table 2 contains the Rams’ points scored and allowed in each game next to the opponents’ average defensive points allowed and average offensive points scored. It also shows the Rams’ points scored minus the opponent’s average points allowed and the Rams’ points allowed minus the opponent’s average points scored. For the Diff1 column, a positive number would be good, while for the Diff2 column, a negative number would be good.


Ram Pts Opp D
Opp Pts Opp O
Opp Score Avg Pt Diff1 Score Avg Pt Diff2
Seattle Seahawks 0 24.38 -24.38 28 17.5 10.5
Washington Redskins 7 21 -14 9 16.63 -7.63
Green Bay Packers 17 18.56 -1.56 36 28.81 7.19
San Francisco 49ers 0 17.56 -17.56 35 20.63 14.38
Minnesota Vikings 10 19.5 -9.5 38 29.38 8.63
Jacksonville Jaguars 20 23.75 -3.75 23 18.13 4.88
Indianapolis Colts 6 19.19 -13.19 42 26 16
Detroit Lions 17 30.88 -13.88 10 16.38 -6.38
New Orleans Saints 23 21.31 1.69 28 31.88 -3.88
Arizona Cardinals 13 20.31 -7.31 21 23.44 -2.44
Seattle Seahawks 17 24.38 -7.38 27 17.5 9.5
Chicago Bears 9 23.44 -14.44 17 20.44 -3.44
Tennessee Titans 7 25.13 -18.13 47 22.13 24.88
Houston Texans 13 20.81 -7.81 16 24.25 -8.25
Arizona Cardinals 10 20.31 -10.31 31 23.44 7.56
San Francisco 49ers 6 17.56 -11.56 28 20.63 7.38
Sum Difference     -173.06     78.88

Table 2

Just from a points standpoint, the Rams were bad on both sides of the ball. But, they seemed to be worse offensively than defensively, just judging by how much more poorly the offense performed compared to opponents’ averages. We see a similar story in Table 3 below.


Ram Yds Opp D
Opp Yds Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Yd Diff1 Gained Avg Yd Diff2
Seattle Seahawks 247 356.44 -109.44 446 316.81 129.19
Washington Redskins 245 319.69 -74.69 362 312.38 49.63
Green Bay Packers 336 284.44 51.56 402 379.06 22.94
San Francisco 49ers 177 326.38 -149.38 228 290.75 -62.75
Minnesota Vikings 400 305.5 94.5 377 379.63 -2.63
Jacksonville Jaguars 262 352.31 -90.31 492 336.56 155.44
Indianapolis Colts 272 339.19 -67.19 391 363.06 27.94
Detroit Lions 362 392.13 -30.13 289 299 -10
New Orleans Saints 434 357.75 76.25 420 403.81 16.19
Arizona Cardinals 314 346.44 -32.44 444 344.38 99.63
Seattle Seahawks 364 356.44 7.56 265 316.81 -51.81
Chicago Bears 233 337.75 -104.75 248 310.31 -62.31
Tennessee Titans 240 365.63 -125.63 446 351.44 94.56
Houston Texans 237 324.88 -87.88 419 383.06 35.94
Arizona Cardinals 238 346.44 -108.44 407 344.38 62.63
San Francisco 49ers 109 326.38 -217.38 329 290.75 38.25
Sum Difference     -967.75     542.81

Table 3

In yardage, as in points, the Rams performed worse offensively than defensively, by nearly a 2-1 margin. The next two tables reflect the Rams league rankings shown in Table 1 above.


Ram P-Yd Opp D
Opp P-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Pa Diff1 Gained Avg Pa Diff2
Seattle Seahawks 170 245.44 -75.44 279 218.94 60.06
Washington Redskins 119 207.25 -88.25 237 218.13 18.88
Green Bay Packers 187 201.13 -14.13 250 261.25 -11.25
San Francisco 49ers 82 229.38 -147.38 132 190.75 -58.75
Minnesota Vikings 278 218.38 59.63 288 259.75 28.25
Jacksonville Jaguars 207 235.88 -28.88 326 209.75 116.25
Indianapolis Colts 117 212.69 -95.69 235 282.19 -47.19
Detroit Lions 212 265.56 -53.56 162 198 -36
New Orleans Saints 293 235.56 57.44 217 272.19 -55.19
Arizona Cardinals 191 233.69 -42.69 261 251 10
Seattle Seahawks 251 245.44 5.56 95 218.94 -123.94
Chicago Bears 98 211.38 -113.38 128 217.06 -89.06
Tennessee Titans 160 258.69 -98.69 286 189.44 96.56
Houston Texans 149 217.94 -68.94 367 290.88 76.13
Arizona Cardinals 150 233.69 -83.69 297 251 46
San Francisco 49ers 22 229.38 -207.38 204 190.75 13.25
Sum Difference     -995.44     44

Table 4


Ram R-Yd Opp D
Opp R-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Ru Diff1 Gained Avg Ru Diff2
Seattle Seahawks 77 111 -34 167 97.88 69.13
Washington Redskins 126 112.44 13.56 125 94.25 30.75
Green Bay Packers 149 83.31 65.69 152 117.81 34.19
San Francisco 49ers 95 97 -2 96 100 -4
Minnesota Vikings 122 87.13 34.88 89 119.88 -30.88
Jacksonville Jaguars 55 116.44 -61.44 166 126.81 39.19
Indianapolis Colts 155 126.5 28.5 156 80.88 75.13
Detroit Lions 150 126.56 23.44 127 101 26
New Orleans Saints 141 122.19 18.81 203 131.63 71.38
Arizona Cardinals 123 112.75 10.25 183 93.38 89.63
Seattle Seahawks 113 111 2 170 97.88 72.13
Chicago Bears 135 126.38 8.63 120 93.25 26.75
Tennessee Titans 80 106.94 -26.94 160 162 -2
Houston Texans 88 106.94 -18.94 52 92.19 -40.19
Arizona Cardinals 88 112.75 -24.75 110 93.38 16.63
San Francisco 49ers 87 97 -10 125 100 25
Sum Difference     27.69     498.81

Table 5

Here we see that the Rams passing game and rush defense were the worst culprits in their poor performance relative to opponents’ averages. In pass defense and rushing offense, they were actually relatively close to the opponents’ averages for this season. Again, part of this may have to do with the fact that most teams had comfortable leads in the second half, and therefore ran the ball much more than they passed the ball late in games. I would guess that since they seemed to find running relatively productive, there would be no reason not to. By the same token, with a lead, the opposing offenses probably focused more on stopping the pass and did not play the run very aggressively.

Again, the Rams have many needs, but based on these numbers, their greatest needs right now are in rush defense and passing offense. That pretty much corresponds with what VanRam at Turf Show Times concluded in this post on the Rams Team Needs. I would tend to agree with his assessment of their top 3 needs: 

  1. QB
  2. DT
  3. WR

In general, I would say they should focus on defense first. If they draft the expected franchise QB, I’d give him a year before starting him. But, either way, this team needs plenty of help.

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