Ah the Red Zone, I suppose it can be confusing. Think about it, growing up we are taught that red means stop. So maybe it’s an issue of perception. Perhaps moving forward Devaney can ask that TV, Radio and Stadium personnel refer to that last 20 yards as the Green Zone. Green meaning go and all.
If it was up to me and the Rams could only work on one thing during the bye week it would be their Red Zone efficiency. Through the quarter mark of the season only Jacksonville (3) and Seattle (8) have made trips inside the 20 less often than St. Louis. So it should be no mystery to anyone the Rams are near the bottom of the league in scoring. Something needs to be done about this, AND NOW.
In looking back at the first four games of the season the Rams seem unorganized, often rushed and even chaotic in their time in the Red Zone. The Rams defense is not built (at least anymore) to win games and field goals are not going to get it done against the class of the league in Green Bay and New Orleans. Nor will it against the lesser haves of the NFC West. This is why everyone was on board pairing offensive guru Josh McDaniels with franchise QB Sam Bradford.
Well, in the words of Judge Smails from Caddyshack…”we’re waiting.” Amongst their ten red zone possessions, the Rams have run 24 plays that began with a first down inside the 20. And the Rams have only gained positive yards on six of those plays. Against all odds three of Bradford’s four completions have been for touchdowns. A great percentage in what is a terribly small sample size. Another mark against this offensive unit. There have been penalties on six of the ten drives for 55 yards. Put it all together and you have 40 snaps for 69 yards and a 2.16 average.
But the biggest failure of all, almost reading like a misprint in Monday’s box score. A Red Zone possession that ended with a punt. Maybe good luck in Haiti but in America…that’s just bad football. According to Howard Balzer of 101espn.com there have been no punts on red zone drives in the other 63 NFL games played this season. And this was the first time the Rams had punted in the 597 red zone drives they have had since 1999.
Below I take a look at every play ran by the Rams inside the Red Zone this season and their end result. Afterwards I sprinkle in some percentages and breakdowns to truly paint the picture of the Rams ineptitude inside the twenty. I caution you to read on at your own risk. The story told by the numbers below is not one for the faint of heart…or really anyone who enjoys good football.
Key: Red = Run Play Blue = Pass Play Italics= Penalty Bold = End Result
- 1-1-PHI 1 -C. Williams right tackle to PHI 1 for no gain
- 2-1-PHI 1 -PENALTY on STL B. Bajema, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at PHI 1 – No Play.
- 2-6-PHI 6 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short right to L. Kendricks.
- 3-6-PHI 6 -(Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to D. Amendola.
- 4-6-PHI 6 -Josh Brown 23 yard field goal is GOOD
- 1-1-NYG 1 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short right to L. Kendricks.
- 2-1-NYG 1 -C. Williams left tackle to NYG 2 for -1 yards
- 3-2-NYG 2 -(Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short right to G. Salas
- 4-2-NYG 2 -Josh Brown 21 yard field goal is GOOD
- 1-10-NYG 15 -(No Huddle) -C. Williams right tackle to NYG 7 for 8 yards
- 2-2-NYG 7 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to M. Sims-Walker.
- 3-2-NYG 7 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to G. Salas
- 4-2-NYG 7 -Josh Brown 25 yard field goal is GOOD
- 1-10-NYG 16 -C. Williams left tackle to NYG 13 for 3 yards
- 2-7-NYG 13- (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass short middle to G. Salas to NYG 9 for 4 yards
- 3-3-NYG 9 -(Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to D. Alexander
- 4-3-NYG 9 –Josh Brown 27 yard field goal is GOOD
- 1-10-NYG 19 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to D. Alexander.
- 2-10-NYG 19 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short middle to D. Alexander.
- 3-10-NYG 19 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass deep left to D. Alexander for 19 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
- 2-8-BAL 23 -C. Williams left guard to BAL 14 for 9 yards PENALTY on J. Smith, Unnecessary Roughness, 15 yards, enforced between downs.
- 1-10-BAL 29 -S. Bradford pass short right to A. Pettis to BAL 26 for 3 yards
- 2-7-BAL 26 -S. Bradford pass deep right intended for D. Alexander INTERCEPTED by L. Webb
- ****disclaimer. This is being included because the initial result got the Rams into the Red Zone***
- 1-10-BAL 19 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to L. Kendricks. PENALTY J.Bell, Chop Block, 15 yards, enforced at BAL 19 -1
- 1-25-BAL 34 -S. Bradford pass deep right to B. Gibson for 34 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
- 1-3-WAS 3 -(Shotgun) -S. Jackson left guard to WAS 4 for -1 yards
- 2-4-WAS 4 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to B. Miller. PENALTY R. Saffold, Offensive Holding, 10 yards
- 2-14-WAS 14 -S. Bradford pass incomplete short right to S. Jackson.
- 3-14-WAS 14 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short middle to L. Kendricks.
- 4-14-WAS 14 -Josh Brown 32 yard field goal
- 1-10-WAS 20 -(Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short left to S. Jackson .PENALTY on WAS Roughing the Passer, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 20 – No Play.
- 1-10-WAS 10 – (Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short middle to S. Jackson.
- 2-10-WAS 10 – (Shotgun) PENALTY on STL-L . Kendricks, False Start, 5 yards
- 2-15-WAS 15 – (Shotgun) S. Bradford pass incomplete short middle to L. Kendricks.
- 3-15-WAS 15 – (Shotgun) S. Bradford pass short left to S. Jackson for 15 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
- 1-10-WAS 19 -(Shotgun) -S. Bradford pass incomplete short middle to 84-D. Alexander.
- 2-10-WAS 19 -(Shotgun) S. Jackson up the middle to WAS 16 for 3 yards. PENALTY on STL, Illegal Shift, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 19 – No Play.
- 2-15-WAS 24 – (Shotgun) S. Bradford sacked at WAS 34 for -10 yards.
- 3-25-WAS 34 – (Shotgun) S. Bradford sacked at WAS 39 for -5 yard. FUMBLES and recovers at WAS 39 by – S. Bradford to WAS 39 for no gain.
- 4-30-WAS 39 -D. Jones punts 37 yards to WAS 2.
- Total Drives: 10
- Total Snaps: 40
- Run: 7 (22%)
- Pass: 25 (78%)
- Touchdowns: 3(30%)
- Field Goals: 5 (50%)
- Scoring: 80%
- Sacks: 2 for -15 yards
- Snaps from Shotgun: 19 (48%)
- Penalties on Rams: 6 for – 55 yards
- Turnovers: 1 interception
- Punts: 1
- Total Yards: (excluding FG’s) 69 yards
- Yards Per Play: 2.16
- 1st Downs: 1
Looking into these numbers a bit further and that is a 78% pass to run ratio in the Red Zone. Which is one thing when you are back out near the 15 or 20, even the 10 yard line? But a lot of the Rams Red Zone plays have taken place inside the 10 and many inside the 5 yard line. A team absolutely has to be able to run and pound it in from there.
Steven Jackson has been banged up as has Cadillac Williams. But that is why Norwood is on the roster and especially why fullback Brit Miller were kept on the roster. If Spagnuolo cannot get the ratio of pass to run closer to 50/50 teams will continue to sit on the pass and thwart the Rams’ attempts. Besides, it is not as if Saffold & Company are giving Bradford much time to throw, let alone look around back there for a target.
For those overwhelmed by these impressive numbers I will go ahead and pick out the “highlights”. That comes out to 2.16 yards a play and the only 1st down earned was via penalty against Washington. Couple that with a drop by Salas inside the 3 yard line, one by Kendricks IN THE ENDZONE, and a punt, yes, a freaking punt on a drive that started at the Redskins 19 yard line and what you have is a perfect formula for how to start a season 0-4.
It has been nine days since the Rams embarrassing effort against Washington. Leaving Spags with five more to get a better plan in place. Otherwise consider the Rams officially in the race for the #1 overall pick next summer.