Currently, the Rams are 3-0 and face the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday in the desert to try and make it 4-0.
When the Rams have begun the season with a 4-0 record, the season almost always goes well, all but twice they made the playoffs and twice won NFL Championships. Will 2021 follow suit?
The defense was led by All-Pro defensive tackle Dick Huffman, fine rookie linebacker Tank Younger (who also played fullback) George Sims who picked off nine passes and a good pair of defensive ends in Larry Brink and Jack Zilly. The 1949 Rams team lost the NFL championship to the Eagles on a rainy day in Los Angeles.
Again, the combined record of the teams they beat was 4-12, but two of the wins were quality wins, one was over the 3-1 Cowboys and the other over the 3-1 49ers. In those first four games the Rams Fearsome Foursome allowed just 64.8 yards a game rushing and a 2.9 yards per carry average and nailing the quarterback 17 times. The defensive passer rating was 42.3.
The running game was not dynamic, but plodding but Dick Bass and Les Josephson and others rushed for 550 yards and a 3.9 average and Roman Gabriel passing states were 55/101 for a 54.5 completion percentage for 696 yards 7 touchdowns and 2 picks for a 91.0 passer rating.
|1969 Rams with newly acquired Bob Brown (76) and Mike LaHood (64) filling in for Joe Scibelli
The defense allowed just 3.2 yards a rush and sacked quarterbacks 16 times in the opening four games and allowed a defensive passer rating of 51.5. The offense lacked a running game and the offense fell on the shoulders of NFL MVP Roman Gabriel who threw for 9 touchdowns and no picks with a passer rating of 92.6.
The combined record of the fallen was 3-12-1 with the only quality win was over the Colts who were just 2-2 in the opening four games.
|Fred Dryer and Jack Youngblood putting the "pinch" on Fran Tarkenton
They began 6-0, ended 12-2 but lost in the opening round of the playoffs due to what seemed like the jitters by his offensive team, plagued by fumbles, picks, missed field goals they were defeated by the Cowboys. But after for games they had run for 879 yards and newly acquire John Hadl had a passer rating of 146.1, the highest of any Ram QB in the first month of the season.
Though only throwing 13 times a game he had 8 touchdowns and no picks and many of his passes were deep, averaging 13.6 yards per completion. Harold Jackson had 9 receptions for 185 yards and 4 touchdowns and this was before his monster game against Dallas in week five when he was the Offensive Player of the Week with four touchdown catches.
Defensively the Rams allowed 70.3 yards rushing (a 3.4 average per carry) and has 11 sacks (Led by Jack Youngblood who had half those sacks) and picked off seven passes (by six different defenders).
The record of their foes was 6-10 overall and only the Falcons ended the season with a winning record.
|1978 versus the Cowboys in week five
The following two tables show the vital stats of all the 4-0 teams along with the 3-0 2018 Rams.
The combined record of the four teams they beat was 8-8 but all four ended up in the playoffs so all four were quality wins.
Eric Dickerson for two (holdout) and had a short quarterback who threw sidearm—Dieter Brock. Charles White filled in nicely for Dickerson and the run offense was fine. The defense was emphasizing the nickel more than the base and relied on a fine stable of secondary men to get the job done, names like Nolan Cromwell, Johnnie Johnson, Gary Green, LeRoy Irvin, and nickel back Vince Newsome all starred along with the NFL's best special teams units.
The record of the four defeated teams was 5-11 and only the Denver Broncos ended the season with a winning record (11-5) though they missed the playoffs.
The offense belonged to Jim Everett (104.0) passing rating, followed up by a 104.9 in 1989) and Greg Bell (Dickerson had been traded the previous season).
The record of the defeated was 5-11 and only the Giants had a winning record by years end.
Two of their early wins were quality over the eventual Super Bowl champs the 49ers and the 10-6 Packers. The combined record of their victims after week four was 8-8.
The 5-11 record of the teams the Rams beat was a bit deceiving. The Packers and Bears were quality wins but the Saints and Panthers both ended 7-9 and were "tough outs". Not so much for the Rams who ended 7-9 and going 3-9 the final 3/4 of the season. The running game went south and so did the big advantage in turnovers.
Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt riddling defenses with Mike Martz calling the plays.
However, the story of those three defenses is another story. In 1999 the Rams had the NFL's top run defense and led the NFL in sacks. Their defensive passer rating was 64.0, second to only the Buccaneers. However, in 2000 the defense was one of the worst in the NFL, 31ist in points allowed and 23rd in yards allowed, and it occurred with virtually the same players. Kevin Carter and D'Marco Farr were injured to varying degrees, but it was a big drop.
So, Martz blew up the defense, hired Lovie Smith and built a facsimile of the Tampa Bay defense. They traded for Aeneas Williams, drafted Damione Lewis, Adam Archuleta, and Ryan Pickett in the first round and Tommy Polley in the second round to be their 'Ronde Barber, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Booger McFarland. It worked, for a short time (2001 anyway). The defense was 7th in points allowed, 3rd to yards allowed, 3rd in rushing yards allowed and their 69.9 defensive passer rating was sixth.
In 1999 the record of the fallen was 5-12 but none of the teams made the playoffs and the 49ers who were 3-2 after the Rams loss totally nosedived.
In 2018 the Rams had the 4-0 start and ended up winning the NFC but losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots.
Jared Goff threw for 32 touchdowns that year and had a 101.1 passer rating but seemed to fade after the Kansas City game. Todd Gurley was All-Pro that year as was (as always) Aaron Donald who also led the NFL with 20.5 sacks and was the consensus Defensive Player of the Year.