What does Sam Bradford have to do with playing defense? Or more importantly, what does the absence of Sam Bradford have to do with the sudden improvement in the Rams' ability to shut down opposing quarterbacks? Anything? Nothing?
In one of the more unusual stories of the season, the Rams have seemingly played better overall after losing their starting quarterback, despite the fact that Bradford had gotten off to a better start this season than any other. (Bradford was on pace to join the very rare 30-TD, 10-INT club.) In fact, but for their QB play, the Rams could have won each of the past three weeks.
The headlines in this season turnaround have focused on the emergence of a couple young players, Zac Stacy and Tavon Austin. But just as important, the Rams' pass defense has suddenly transformed from one of the league's very worst to one of its best.
See the full infographic after the break.
EVERY QUARTERBACK that faced Bradford did better than their season average. EVERY QUARTERBACK that has faced Clemens, so far, has been throttled to their season-worst performance, or near it. As the chart shows, this is not gradual improvement. This is someone throwing a kill-switch. This is Dr. Frankenstein bringing his corpse to life.
In short, this is downright bizarre. How do we explain it?