Rams rushed the passer better than any other defense

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Aaron Donald led the NFL in sacks and is the consensus choice for defensive player of the year, but even when Donald didn’t actually bring down the quarterback, he affected opposing passers in other ways.

Donald led the league in pressures as well as sacks, and he led a defense that pressured opposing quarterbacks more frequently than any other defense in football.

According to Chris Trapasso of the Buffalo News, using data compiled by Pro Football Focus, the Rams got pressure on 40.1 percent of the dropbacks they faced, the best of any defense in the NFL in the 2018 season.

As is often the case, however, when a team succeeds at rushing the passer, it can struggle to stop the run. Draw plays often work well against a team that’s focused on getting to the quarterback, and in the case of the Rams they allowed opposing runners to gain an average of 5.1 yards per carry. That’s dead last in the NFL.

So whether it’s the Bears, the Seahawks or the Cowboys the Rams face in their first playoff game, expect them to get to the quarterback often. But don’t be surprised if any one of those teams is able to run effectively in Los Angeles next weekend.

36 responses to “Rams rushed the passer better than any other defense

  1. I am curious if the Bengals consistently high ranked Defense
    dropped in quality from not practicing against high quality players
    like Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler.

  2. 40% is an insane pressure number.
    If a QB drops back 25 times, he’s getting pressure 10 times. Donald is just a beast in terms of his ability to affect the offense.

  3. As a Rams fan I couldn’t care less about this stat. I would gladly give that up if we could actually stop the run for once. It’s been the defense’s achilles heel for the last 2 seasons and the scary thing is they give up long runs to even marginal RB’s. That’s just not going to cut it in the playoffs going against the potential likes of Ezekial Elliott, Kamara, Ingram, Carson etc.

  4. I wonder how that compares to the pressure rate of the Eagles last year, I think they were around a similar mark.
    Aaron Donald is a monster

  5. I’ll say it again Profootball focus is a sham! I remember the 49ers was getting the best grades in the NFL. Yet this was a year after declines by Ipati and RT Davis getting beat every other snap. I argued that whoever was doing their ranking was showing major bias. They stood by their metrics and that team went 8-8. I don’t even know if they were using the All 22 film. Players and coaches seem to think PFF is a joke but analysts who are too lazy to do their own research seem to live by it

  6. “As a Rams fan I couldn’t care less about this stat. I would gladly give that up if we could actually stop the run for once.

    Rams pass rush, in particular Donald’s game breaking ability wore down offensive lines and made the difference in several close games.

    We all want to see the Rams play the run better. But are you more worried about running backs or QBs like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles carving them up?

  7. Oh woooowwww… when you spend that much in free agency and put money into your team roster that is what happens??? amazing… still won’t win the SB.

  8. Ha. Click through and see the whole list. You’ll never guess who’s last.

    “It’s hard to find a great one. It’s hard to find a good one. It’s hard to find one.” lol

  9. Gee, better than even the allegedly unstoppable Bears defense that Bears fans keep bragging about?

  10. “I am curious if the Bengals consistently high ranked Defense
    dropped in quality from not practicing against high quality players
    like Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler.”

    No need to be curious. They are just a poor team, with a poor HC and little talent across the board.

  11. For the money they’re paying that front 4, they had better be getting that kind of result.

  12. savagestarlight says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:49 pm
    “As a Rams fan I couldn’t care less about this stat. I would gladly give that up if we could actually stop the run for once.
    Rams pass rush, in particular Donald’s game breaking ability wore down offensive lines and made the difference in several close games.
    We all want to see the Rams play the run better. But are you more worried about running backs or QBs like Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Nick Foles carving them up?

    All of those QB’s you mentioned carved the Rams up already this year even with their pass rush so your point is…..?

  13. Except against the Saints…against the Saints, they touched Brees zero times.

  14. That may be the only thing they did better than anyone, because no matter how you slice it, they were a below average defense for 2018 (Ranked as #19 in total defense). For you nay-sayers, there’s 32 teams in the league. Half/average/median is 16. Rank above 16 is above average, rank below 16 is below average. Worse yet, they were 23rd against the run, allowing 122.3 yards per game. This means almost 75% of the league had a better run defense. Yikes.

    They put all their chips in one basket to rush the passer, and this is what they got. The league leader in sacks, a stat that says they schemed most to pass the rusher, and overall a below ranked defense.

  15. To get that much pressure on the passer and not be able to come up with interceptions much less consistently stop the pass is an indictment on their secondary. I know they had injuries to some big names in the secondary but good lord.

  16. Hmmm, so they put pressure on the QB 40% of the time. Does that mean that 60% of the time the QB can carve them up?

  17. rkt4mayor says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:53 pm
    Gee, better than even the allegedly unstoppable Bears defense that Bears fans keep bragging about?

    .

    Correct, the Bears ended up slightly lower, at 5th in the league with a pressure rate of 37.3%. But they also finished first against the run, which does make them pretty good and also an anomaly considering they do well in both categories. Unstoppable? I don’t think so, but if your point is that Bears fans are delusional, A) they have good reason to be pumped about the defense based on these stats alone, and B) every team has its share of delusional fans and I guarantee the majority of Bears fans are cautiously optimistic and not proclaiming the defense to be “unstoppable.”

  18. mm556 says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm
    I wonder how that compares to the pressure rate of the Eagles last year, I think they were around a similar mark.

    I don’t know about last year’s rankings but, this year, it was really close… Rams’ led the NFL with a pressure rating of 40.09983361% with the Eagles right behind them at 39.68705548%

  19. thebirdofprey says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:48 pm
    “I’ll say it again Profootball focus is a sham! I remember the 49ers was getting the best grades in the NFL. Yet this was a year after declines by Ipati and RT Davis getting beat every other snap. I argued that whoever was doing their ranking was showing major bias. They stood by their metrics and that team went 8-8. I don’t even know if they were using the All 22 film. Players and coaches seem to think PFF is a joke but analysts who are too lazy to do their own research seem to live by it”

    Agree completely re: PFF. And, no, they do NOT use the ALL 22 film; instead they create dubious “metrics” to grade receivers, DBs et al who are out of camera view.

    Once they started grading college players they really got exposed, as their grades did not correlate well with actual performance of drafted players once in the NFL.

    PFF has managed to make themselves sound professional and precise, but it is more scam than anything.

  20. Overall defense not so good and terrible against the run. Reason enough for Donald not to get MVP consideration.

  21. Pretty easy when you have a top 5 offense that consistently gets you the lead, forcing the other team to be one-dimensional passing offenses. Admittedly, Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL.

  22. It also helps that stat massively if you’re offense is putting you into a good lead and leaving your opponent mostly chasing the game. But anyway, if Rams D are so good, how come they’re ranked 20th in points, allowing 24pts/gm?

  23. But, wait! The Pats finished #11 and led the conference in turnovers created and tied for 6th in points allowed.

    We’ve been told their D isn’t good! How can this be???!

    lmao

  24. Saints got pressure on 34% of plays, were 5th in the league in sacks and had the #2 run defense in terms of both YPG and YPA.

    That’s a real defensive line.

  25. This is what happens when you overpay Suh and he feels over-shadowed by Donald. He was never a factor as a run stopper and takes plays off. The Dolphins Defense is still pathetic, but statistically they improved when he left. Good Riddance!

  26. .
    I don’t understand that chart,
    Looking at the numbers listed the Eagles blew away everyone including the Rams.
    Pressures Drop Backs faced Pressure Rate
    Los Angeles Rams 241 601 40.09983361
    Philadelphia Eagles 279 703 39.68705548
    Jacksonville Jaguars 207 548 37.77372263
    Baltimore Ravens 241 640 37.65625

  27. And they completely sacrificed the run to do so. Eh, I guess that’s for “trenches” nerds.

  28. For 2018 the zero-order correlation coefficient between pass rush pressure and winning percentage was .35.

    Six of the top eight teams had winning records while six of the bottom eight had losing records.

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