Thursday, September 20, 2012
Washington Generals have left NFC West
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks have gone a combined 26-4 (.867) against the St. Louis Rams since 2007.
They were 30-30 against one another and 56-94 (.373) against everyone else (Rams excluded) from 2007 through last season.
Early returns from St. Louis suggest life is about to get tougher for the primary beneficiaries of the Rams' recent futility.
New coach Jeff Fisher has the Rams off to a 1-1 start, their best two-game mark since 2006. St. Louis was leading at Detroit late in the opener before overcoming a 21-6 deficit to defeat the Washington Redskins last week.
These are not your 2007-2011 Rams. Put another way: The Washington Generals have left the division. No more doubling up on "free victory" coupons for the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks when facing the Rams. Time to start earning those 7-9 and 8-8 records that often buy time for coaching staffs.
That's how things look at this early point in the season, at least.
Improvements in passing offense seem to account for much of the Rams' newfound competitiveness. As noted, quarterback Sam Bradford had more goal-to-go touchdown passes in Week 2 (two) than he completed all last season (one).
The first chart compares the Rams' 2012 offensive stats through two games to the two-game totals for the previous five St. Louis teams. I've shaded rows featuring some of the most significant gains.
The second chart compares two-game defensive totals for the 2012 team to those for the previous five Rams teams. I've shaded the rows featuring significant gains. Improved health and talent at cornerback and outside linebacker has helped the Rams become better at hawking the ball, it appears.
Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for the chart info.