ST. LOUIS -- After a 2012 season in which fumbles were hard to come by for the St. Louis Rams' defense, it's taken just two players to better the team's number of forced fumbles in 2013.
The Rams managed to force just 12 fumbles in 2012, and even on the rare occasion they jarred the ball loose, they struggled to come up with it. This year there's been no shortage of opportunities or recoveries. In fact, the Rams have more fumble recoveries (15) in 2013 than the dozen forced fumbles they had last year.
More telling, defensive end Robert Quinn (seven) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (six) have combined for 13 forced fumbles this year, also topping last year's total. Quinn is tied with Indianapolis linebacker Robert Mathis for the league lead in that category. Ogletree is next behind Quinn and Mathis after he added two more to his total against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
“We knew if we could get to the ball we definitely had a chance of possibly getting the ball out," Ogletree said. "I was able to get to the ball and get the ball out along with some of the other guys.”
That's been a familiar refrain for the Rams' defense. After adding Ogletree's pair of forced fumbles to the tally, the Rams have 21 forced fumbles this season, the most in the league. The team's 15 fumble recoveries are tied with Kansas City for most in the NFL also.
The Rams nearly had another one late in Sunday's game against the Bucs but didn't get the benefit of a review when Quinn appeared to get to Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon before his arm could come forward late in the fourth quarter.
There's been a direct correlation between turnover differential and wins for the Rams this year. That's far from a novel concept, but the Rams and Bucs were even in giveaways Sunday and St. Louis still managed a win.
“I really wish they would’ve reviewed that last one they called incomplete," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We might’ve gotten another one because there was clear recovery there, but we’ll take a look at it. When we struggle, we’ve lost the turnover battle, so to come away with a win, not having the edge there [in turnovers], it’s rewarding.”
When the Rams were struggling to get fumbles last year, Fisher insisted that things like fumbles come in cycles. Last year was a downturn, but it's clear the opposite has been true in 2013.
A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. … In Saturday's matchup stories, we offered three things to watch in the Rams/Bucs game as well as a trio of individual matchups worth keeping an eye on. … In Rapid Reaction, we offered some quick thoughts on the Rams' victory. … From there, it was a quick news story on the injury to left tackle Jake Long. … Next, we discussed the need for the Rams to prioritize Rodger Saffold in the offseason, especially in light of Long's injury. … Finally, we examined the big picture with a look at how the Rams are better now than they were a year ago at this time and what that could mean for the future.
Prim Siripipat and Tom Waddle break down the Rams' Week 16 win over the Buccaneers.
At stltoday.com, Jeff Gordon offers his weekly report card.
Jim Thomas supplies his running recap of the Rams' win.
Meant to get this in the other day but worth mentioning here, Bernie Miklasz posits that it's too soon to call receiver Brian Quick a bust.
Nate Latsch at FoxSportsMidwest.com took a look at Robert Quinn's big day from a little different angle.
A quick game recap from Turf Show Times.