Jeff Fisher blames blowout loss to Saints on an advantage that doesn't exist

The Los Angeles Rams were blown out 49-21 by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. It was a pretty thorough and embarrassing beating.

The Saints racked up 555 yards of total offense, controlled the ball for 35 minutes and 56 seconds, averaged 7.8 yards per play, converted both of their fourth-down opportunities and scored touchdowns on all five of their red zone possessions.

It was a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, as he is wont to do, explained away the loss by focusing on something other than the fact that his team was unprepared for the Saints and totally outplayed. Namely, he blamed the schedule.

"They had an extra three or four days to prepare for us, having played last Thursday night," Fisher said, per the Orange County Register.

That sounded suspiciously like a terrible excuse for a blowout loss, so I decided to investigate. The NFL has been playing Thursday night games, in their current form, since 2006. That gives us 10-plus seasons of data to work with to see how teams perform when playing with a three- to four-day rest advantage the week following a Thursday game.

If Fisher is correct that it's an advantage to have those extra days of preparation and rest, we could reasonably expect that advantage to be reflected in a sample of 200 games (the number of games post-TNF teams had played entering this week), right?

Well, unsurprisingly (if you've paid attention to Fisher's excuse-making over the years), it turns out that Fisher is dead wrong on this one.

Entering this week, teams playing with three to four days of extra rest the week after appearing on the current version of Thursday Night Football had a combined record of 93-107, otherwise known as 14 games under .500. (I put all the results in a Google doc so you can see for yourself. Check it out right here.)

So not only does the extra preparation advantage Fisher blamed his blowout loss on not appear to exist, but in 10-plus years of data it appears to actually have given teams a (very slight) disadvantage the following week. The advantage Fisher blamed doesn't even appear to exist this year, as entering Week 12 the TNF teams from the week before had gone 7-11 in their next game.

Not only that but it seems silly to blame a schedule quirk that almost every team in the league will face at one point this season. It just doesn't make sense, which I suppose gives the claim something in common with a lot of things about the Jeff Fisher-era Rams.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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