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NFL Draft

Jared Goff, Rams Offense Once Again At A Crossroads

  • The Draft Network
  • November 3, 2020
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The NFL schedule can now favor the streaky Los Angeles Rams, who will have a bye in Week 9 that will be extremely useful when recovering from the ugly loss to the Miami Dolphins that continued to expose the team’s deficiencies on offense.

The Rams, who fell to 5-3 after the 28-17 loss, weren’t necessarily bad Sunday. They outgained the Dolphins by 326 yards and stifled their passing attack (90 yards) and run game (55), and their defense was arguably the best unit on the field. It was Miami’s defense, however, that caused the most problems and showed us what we kind of already know about the Rams, or more specifically, quarterback Jared Goff.

While the Dolphins had a complete team performance, with touchdowns from all three sides of the ball, including an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown, their defense was the most impressive. Miami employed a similar scheme used to shut down the Rams’ offense in Super Bowl 53 that had Goff frantic and noticeably uncomfortable. 

Miami head coach Brian Flores, who was on the New England Patriots’ defensive staff at the time, was just as successful now as he was when he held the Rams to three points in the annual championship. The Rams’ offensive front couldn’t contain the pressure Goff felt all day.

“You can watch a game and see that a quarterback feels us,” Flores told reporters after the game. “I think that’s essentially what you’re looking for.”

Goff’s performance was, well, embarrassing as he was unable to protect the ball—again. He finished the loss 35-of-61 passing for 355 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He was sacked twice and hit eight times. The turnovers started to put an added burden on the Rams' defense that has been mitigated up to this point. Los Angeles had only eight turnovers through its first seven games. Now, with six interceptions and four fumbles, Goff is on track to have 20 this year.

“This is a sick taste in your mouth,” head coach Sean McVay said. “I’m looking inward. I have got to do a better job. I can’t wait to look at this and work to get it fixed. That’s all I know how to do. We’ve got a lot of football left.”

The offensive identity crisis the Rams are in the middle of comes at a time when the Seattle Seahawks are breaking away from the rest of the NFC West and the Arizona Cardinals are making their own push. There’s no need to panic right now. The expanded playoff field can allow for Los Angeles to still make a playoff push, but there’s a reason to be concerned. If success in the NFL is measured by the one lofty goal of making it to the Super Bowl, can this Los Angeles team make it through a grueling playoff schedule, stringing four wins together to get back to the biggest stage in all of the land?

Goff hasn’t convinced us he can be the quarterback to help the Rams through a postseason that, in theory, has the best and toughest competition. He might not see the same unique pressures or confusing coverage drops that Dolphins threw at him Sunday, but his cards are showing and have been for a while.

He’s been too inconsistent and this past week’s performance has been another reason to doubt just how far this team can go. While the Rams may be able to sweep through other divisions, including the terribly bad NFC East, their inability to play well against contending teams will make not only the rest of their regular season more difficult than it has to be, but it’ll likely result in an early playoff exit.

When Goff is on, he’s been on, which was the big allure of the young, hot Rams after their Super Bowl appearance. However, there needs to be a high level of identity-searching during the team’s break to get back to that point. We don’t have to paint the Rams as a lost cause—yet; their season isn’t over. But they have a lot to work on.

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