How do Rams have fewest pressures and 3rd-best pass-rush win rate in NFL?

There’s been a lot of talk about the Rams’ pass rush and its ineffectiveness this season. How can a defense that features Aaron Donald be so bad at pressuring the quarterback?

The simple answer is that it takes more than one person to rush the quarterback, even as good as Donald is. Until Week 8, the Rams hadn’t gotten much help from their edge rushers; they combined for two sacks in the first six games.

And without pressure, it’s hard to record sacks.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Rams have a league-low 66 pressures this season. That’s 21 fewer than the next-closest team (Bears) and 36 fewer than the 30th-ranked team. Nothing about that is good.

The most concerning part about the Rams’ lack of pressures is the source of them. Donald accounts for 27 of their 66 pressures this season, with Floyd (13) ranking second on the team. Amazingly, no one else has more than five. Other than Donald, the Rams’ defensive linemen and edge rushers have just 27 pressures. Defensive backs and inside linebackers have 11 pressures themselves.

Pressures aren’t the only measure of pass-rush success, though. According to ESPN, the Rams have the third-best pass-rush win rate in football at 51%. A pass-rush win is deemed a play when a player beats his blocker in 2.5 seconds or less.

So how is it possible that the Rams have the fewest pressures in the league but also one of the most effective pass rushes? Some of it has to do with the fact that teams are getting the ball out quickly against the Rams to prevent pass rushers from getting close to their quarterback. Donald has a win rate of 22% himself, so he boosts the team’s win rate overall.

The Rams also play a lot of zone coverage and don’t press at the line, so short, quick routes are often open. That makes it easier for teams to hit underneath throws before the quarterback gets pressured.

No metric, PFF’s pressures nor ESPN’s win rate, tells the whole story of what’s going on with the Rams’ pass rush. But it’s probably not as bad people are making it out to be, and it’s not as good as the pass-rush win rate suggests.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire