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How much Barron's false starts cost

My first reaction upon reading Advanced NFL Stats' item on Alex Barron's penalty troubles was that all those false starts came at a relatively low price.

"In terms of Expected Points (EP)," the item concluded, "Barron's false starts were responsible for the loss of 24.4 potential points for the Rams, or about five points per season. In terms of Win Probability (WP), his false starts cost 0.62 wins, or about 0.12 wins per season."

My second reaction: Even 62 percent of one victory was a high price given how few games the Rams have won in recent seasons.

The next step was to take a closer look at the penalties themselves, particularly those committed late in games.

Data from ESPN Stats & Information showed Barron committed 10 false-start penalties during fourth quarters, with two appearing significantly responsible for a single Rams defeat. The Rams scored touchdowns after three of the 10 penalties. They kicked a field goal after another one, then won the game, and they picked up first downs after others.

Two false-start penalties committed during a 2006 game against the Chiefs did prove particularly costly.

The Rams trailed, 24-17, and they faced second-and-1 from the Kansas City 26-yard line early in the fourth quarter when Barron committed the penalties on back-to-back plays. The Rams nearly picked up the first down with a 12-yard pass to Isaac Bruce on third-and-11, but a penalty for offensive pass interference negated the play.

Kansas City scored on its next possession, taking a 31-17 lead and winning by that score. The Rams lost a tough game to Seattle the next week, with Barron's third-quarter false-start penalty precipitating a Bulger interception at the Seattle 8. The Seahawks won the game, 24-22, and won the division with a 9-7 record, edging out the Rams (8-8).

Fourth-quarter false starts: The Barron Years