Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Stats show Rams' loss hard to fathom
By Nick Wagoner
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- It's not all that unusual for a team to win statistical battles such as total yards and come out on the short end of the stick. It is, however, unusual for a team to so thoroughly dominate a game defensively as the St. Louis Rams did to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night and have a lower number than the opponent in the only statistic that really matters: the final score.
The Rams held Seattle to just 14 points, seven first downs, 135 yards of total offense and two-of-11 third-down conversions. Meanwhile, the offense managed to post 23 first downs, 339 yards of offense, convert 5-of-14 third downs, but only mustered nine points.
According to Elias and ESPN Stats & Information, the Rams put together a defensive performance that almost never results in a loss. Here's the stat from Elias:
The Rams are the first team to lose a game in which they sacked the quarterback seven or more times and allowed no more than 14 points since 2001 Week 13 when the Bengals lost to the Jaguars. In the interim, NFL teams with that many sacks and so few points allowed went 72-0-1 in those games.
So basically the Rams were the first team in 74 games to lose a game that it dominated so thoroughly on defense.
But wait, there's more.
Seattle became the first team since Miami in Week 14 of 2010 to win a game with 135 or fewer total yards of offense. The Seahawks also became the first team since those same Dolphins to win with seven or fewer first downs.
All of that makes for a pretty sleepless night for Rams coach Jeff Fisher and his staff.
"I just felt bad for the players," Fisher said. "They did everything we asked them to do all week long after the loss of Sam [Bradford] and I felt bad for them last night because they played pretty well."
Fisher went on to say that it's been awhile since one of his teams played so well defensively and even offered his own favorite stat of the night, again albeit in a losing cause.
"It's one of those things," Fisher said. "We had a good plan. They had five extra days to prepare for this thing and somehow it just all came together. The big thing in the game is that their punter had the same number of touches [nine] as [running back] Marshawn Lynch."
As is always the case when there are major statistical discrepancies, the game changed on turnover margin. This one was no exception as the Rams were minus-two in that area and the Seahawks took full advantage.
The Rams showed during a two-game winning streak against Houston and Jacksonville what takeaways can do for results but have found themselves on the other end of it the past two weeks.
"We were minus-two in takeaways and that was the difference in the ball game, the two turnovers," Fisher said. "That stretch where we were plus-seven we were winning ball games but we turned it over a couple times and didn't get any."
As is often the case, the only statistic that truly seems to serve as an indicator of wins and losses is that one. No matter how well a defense performs.