It’s a great time to be the Los Angeles Rams, whose performance is bringing back memories of The Greatest Show on Turf – the time from 1999 to 2001 when Kurt Warner and the Rams put together a remarkable statistical legacy.
The 2017 Rams have scored an average of 32.9 points per game, which puts them on pace for 526 points this season. That would match the 1999 team for the second-most points in a season in franchise history. Only the 2000 team had more (540).
Warner and Goff
In that three-year span, Warner averaged 4,204 passing yards per season. Current Rams quarterback Jared Goff is on pace for 4,240 yards this season.
Both quarterbacks are comparable as home run hitters. Goff is averaging an NFL-best 13.9 yards per completion, comparable to Warner, who averaged 13.4 yards per completion in 1999 and then led the league each of the next two seasons with 14.6 and 12.9 yards per completion, respectively.
Goff had a 94-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods this past Sunday against the Texans. Warner's longest touchdown pass was an 85-yarder to Torry Holt, and it's worth noting he added an 80-yarder later in the game.
The big advantage for Goff is something related to this era of football -- Goff has thrown only four interceptions through nine games. The Greatest Show on Turf offense averaged 20 interceptions in those three seasons.
From 1999 to 2001, Warner had four targets who averaged at least 13 yards per catch – Torry Holt (17.6), Isaac Bruce (16.4), Az-Zahir Hakim (13.9) and Ricky Proehl (13.0).
The running back
Marshall Faulk dominated from 1999 to 2001, averaging 1,374 yards (94 per game) and 12 rushing touchdowns, along with seven touchdown receptions.
Todd Gurley is having a very nice bounce back season, but he’s not quite in Faulk’s class. Gurley is averaging 84 yards per game, though he leads the NFL with seven rushing touchdowns and has three receiving scores.
As the Rams' offensive coordinator in 1999 and then head coach the next two seasons, Mike Martz was the brains behind the Rams' offense then. These Rams are coached by Sean McVay, who was the Redskins' offensive coordinator the previous three seasons before taking the Rams job this year. In each case, the head coach was a coordinator for a team that ranked top-3 in both total yards and passing yards.
What the 'Greatest Show' Rams are best remembered for is winning (1999) and losing (2001) a Super Bowl. These Rams are still far from that point, as our Football Power Index gives them a 12 percent chance to reach the Super Bowl and a 5 percent chance to win it.
Another common thread between them is that no one was expecting anything like this. The 1999 Rams hadn't made the playoffs in nine seasons. The 2017 Rams are trying to end a 12-season playoff drought, and they were last in the NFL with 224 points last season.