Rams Talk will be breaking down each positional matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots leading up to Super Bowl LIII. Today, we’re breaking down one of the most important positions in all of football: quarterback.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ Jared Goff sealed his place among the league’s top quarterbacks for a second consecutive year. The third-year quarterback completed 364 of 561 passes for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He finished sixth in touchdown passes and fourth in passing yards en route to his second consecutive Pro Bowl berth.
Goff’s performance over the past two seasons has far surpassed any expectations. However, at age 24, he is still a work in progress. Goff tends to get flustered under pressure and make rash decisions. He will often throw off his back foot if he senses pressure, even if he still has time to make a throw.
The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles exposed those issues during victories over the Rams late in the season. His struggles under pressure are one reason he led the league in fumbles and finished 10th in QBR. Goff’s QBR would have matched his yardage and touchdown rankings had he performed better under duress.
Still, Goff also has the unique ability to move on quickly. His laid-back attitude helps him maintain a level head. He doesn’t beat himself up when he makes mistakes, and he recovers quickly when faced with adversity. We saw that attribute during the NFC Championship Game when Goff overcame an early interception and 13-0 deficit to lead the Rams over the Saints 26-23 in overtime.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to help the Rams in case Goff suffers an injury. Former third round pick Sean Mannion has struggled in every opportunity, and it’s difficult to imagine that he would be successful in the sport’s biggest stage. The Rams must protect Goff if they are going to have any chance of beating the Patriots.
New England Patriots
The quarterback position is one of the few places where the Patriots have the clear advantage, despite Goff’s accomplishments in the last two seasons. New England’s Tom Brady will retire one day as either the greatest quarterback to ever play the game or in every expert’s top three. He deserves every accolade he’s ever received or will receive. Simply put: Brady is the best there is.
The 14-time Pro Bowler currently ranks fourth all-time in passing yards (70,514), passer rating (97.6), passes completed (6,004) and game-winning drives (44). He’s currently third in touchdown passes all-time (517). Brady has led five Super Bowl champion teams and played in eight total.
What makes Brady special is his quick release. He reads the defense and gets the ball out faster than almost everyone in the game. Even at age 41, Brady still hasn’t slowed down. His leadership also keeps his teammates engaged, even when the Patriots go through an occasional slump. He possesses a knack for finding the right receiver in every situation.
If there is a weakness in his game at this point, it’s that Brady doesn’t move quite as well in the pocket. That should be expected at age 41. Of course that small weakness doesn’t matter as long as the Patriots’ offensive line holds up, and Brady keeps getting the ball out quickly. The Rams have their hands full with Brady on the field.
Goff is a rising star with a bright future. He would be an advantage for the Rams in most situations. However, this is Tom Brady we’re talking about. He remains one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the NFL, and he’s showing few signs of slowing down. The Patriots have the advantage here, and the Rams will have to find a way to overcome that advantage if they have any hope of winning the Super Bowl.