The Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints final score of 30-22 doesn’t reflect how well the Rams offense moved the ball almost all game long. The Rams only had to punt twice, driving the ball deep into Saints territory eight times. But of those drives, the Rams stalled out near the goal line three times. First at the 2-yard line, then the 3, and the last at the 13. Even the first of the three touchdowns the Rams scored came down to a 4th and goal attempt from the 2-yard line, a tendency-breaking call for Sean McVay.
Thank your lucky stars he made that call. The Saints made a late-in-the-game surge to make it a one-score game.
The Rams have been one of the better teams when scoring touchdowns whilst in the red zone. They score just over 60 percent of the time and are 11th in the league on the year. In the last two games, the Rams scored touchdowns on four of nine attempts into the red zone, 44 percent. This was against, frankly, inferior teams. Both the Commanders and Saints were allowed to get back into the games. Had the Rams taken advantage of those red zone trips, those comebacks would have been blips rather than near catastrophes.
The Los Angeles Rams Problem With Red Zone Field Goals
For the Rams this is 3-Fold.
1. Lucas Havrisik hasn’t been a consistent option. He has missed four field goals and an extra point in seven games. That’s almost two points per game lost due to inaccurate kicking. Other than the 33-yard extra point, Havrisik hasn’t missed when kicking from red zone distances (17-37 yards) But given his inconsistency, missing out on a touchdown may mean the Rams walk away from the drive with zero points.
2. The Rams have settled for field goals on their first drives in several games. McVay scripts those opening drives. They often move the ball down the field with ease and these scripted drives should result in seven points. In the Rams four one-score losses, their opening score was a field goal, not a touchdown.
3. At this point it is likely that the Rams will make the playoffs. Missing out on points against playoff teams will result in an early exit from the postseason. Good teams won’t allow the Rams to get away with field goals.
Fixing the Los Angeles Rams Red Zone
Run The Ball: Kyren Williams is averaging 3.3 yards before contact. That is tied for second most in the league. This means the Rams offensive line is doing its job in the running game. One of the successful drives in the red zone was a 10-yard rush right up the A-gap, by Kyren Williams. There wasn’t a Saints defender in position to tackle him on his way to the end zone.
Be Aggressive, B-E- Aggressive: Sean McVay is a conservative coach. Period. He is also one of the league’s best offensive minds. McVay needs to embrace the second part of that equation and go for six points more often. The numbers say teams should be ‘going for it’ if they are within eight yards of the end zone. The Rams are 24th in 4th down conversion attempts. But they convert 60 percent of their attempts. They should be attempting more, especially in the red zone.