How the Rams stack up with the Super Bowl Champs

OK, we know the Baltimore Ravens are the Super Bowl Champions after their 34-31 win over San Francisco Sunday night in New Orleans. The Ravens set the profile, so how do the Rams stack up, and how do they need to get better?

The Rams scored 32 touchdowns and 299 points in 2012. The Ravens scored 44 touchdowns and scored 398. The Rams scored five rushing, 22 passing and five on returns. Baltimore had seventeen rushing touchdowns, 22 passing and five on returns. That’s right, the Ravens scored twelve more touchdowns, and twelve more on the ground.

The Rams rushed for 1,714 yards, Baltimore for 1,901. The Rams passed for 3,550 yards, the Ravens 3,739. Baltimore rushed for twelve more yards per game, and passed for twelve more yards a game. Here are the years of Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford…

Pct Avg Pct. Pct Rating

Player, Team Att Comp Comp Yds Gain TD TD Long Int Int Points

Flacco, Bal. 531 317 59.7 3817 7.19 22 4.1 61t 10 1.9 87.7

Bradford, St.L 551 328 59.5 3702 6.72 21 3.8 80t 13 2.4 82.6

There was one glaring difference between Flacco and Bradford, however, and that’s in third down passing. Flacco did a much better job of keeping his team on the field, compiling a third down passer rating of 87, which was good for twelfth in the league. Bradford had a 69.3 rating, which was 27th.

Defensively, the Rams allowed 348 points, the Ravens 344. The breakdown of Rams TD’s allowed was eighteen rushing, sixteen passing and three on returns. The Ravens allowed fifteen rushing, fifteen passing, and three on returns. I figured penalties would be the difference but the Rams had 130 penalties for 978 yards, Baltimore had 121 for 1,127.

To find the differences between the two teams, you need to dig down to red zone, turnover ratio and starting field position.

Baltimore had twelve more red zone trips, 49-37, and nine more red zone touchdowns, 28-19.

The Rams were a -1 in giveaway/takeaway, with seventeen takeaways. Baltimore finished the regular season +9, tied for eighth in the NFL. Only Indianapolis had fewer fumble recoveries than the Rams’ four. The Rams threw fourteen interceptions and fumbled eight times. Baltimore threw eleven picks and had five fumbles. Baltimore took it away 25 times to the Rams 21. That’s one spot where the Rams need to improve dramatically.

The acquisition of Jacoby Jones, who had a 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl, was huge for Baltimore. They were 16th in punt return average during the regular season and first in kickoff return average. The Rams were 31st in punt return average, and 26th in kickoff returns. Following kickoffs, Baltimore’s average starting field position was third in the league, at the 24.6 yard line. The Rams starting field position after kickoffs was 31st, the 20.3 yard line.

Overall, the Ravens averaged 9.4 yards per punt return with a touchdown while the Rams averaged 6.6 with no scores. The Ravens averaged 27.3 per kickoff return with two scores. The Rams averaged 21 per kickoff return with no touchdowns.

There are big difference between the Ravens and the Rams. Baltimore had made the playoff five straight years and just won a Super Bowl. The Rams have gone 22-73-1 over the last six years, and haven’t reached .500 in that time. But the Rams are on the right track, and their overall resume isn’t that far away from being a championship profile.

If the Rams can improve their red zone scoring with more rushing scores, get better third down work out of Bradford, improve their turnover ratio and add some significant explosiveness to their return game, they can be next winter in New York where Baltimore was on Sunday in New Orleans, up on the podium holding the Lombardi Trophy.