After every Los Angeles Rams game this season, I’ll be breaking down which person in the Rams organization “won” the week.
Before I get into it, I just want to explain what it means to win the week. Onfield performance is a major factor in the decision-making process, but it isn’t the end all. The ultimate factor is who comes out of the week with the most positive impact or buzz. For example, if the Rams Week 1 score was flipped and the Colts manhandled the Rams, Aaron Donald would have likely won the week. This is as much of a narrative award as it is a performance award.
Luckily for this week, the performance dictates the narrative. I don’t care how easy my pick may seem. Jared Goff won the week.
Early struggles required faith
For the past 13 months, Goff has been loudly proclaimed as a bust by fans and media members alike. When he couldn’t beat Case Keenum for the starting job,the experts called him a bust. When Goff earned the starting job and the team continued to play poorly, they called him a bust. When the Rams hired Sean McVay, many experts claimed the Rams should give up on Goff and trade him for Kirk Cousins. When McVay solidified his confidence in Goff, many claimed that the Rams were trying to salvage a quarterback they already know is a bust. When Goff produced a mediocre preseason performance a few weeks ago, some Ram fans called for Sean Mannion to be named the starter.
Finally, for the first time since the Rams traded up for the number one overall pick in 2016, Goff is experiencing nothing but positive buzz. And deservingly so.
Goff completed 21 of 29 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. He put four different receivers over 50 yards in his first game playing with three of them. His 117.9 passer rating was the third highest in the league, only behind Sam Bradford and Alex Smith. Most importantly, Goff finally won a game.
Understanding the truth
Last season wasn’t Jared Goff’s fault. The Rams ran a “middle school offense,” and it seemed like every single player on the offense had regressed from the previous season. The team put Goff into the line of fire after they dropped four out of its previous five games, with the only win coming in a 9-3 shootout against the New York Jets. Goff faced four playoff teams in his first four games. He had his best performance against the New Orleans Saints, the team in that group that didn’t make the playoffs, in a game where the Rams defense gave up 49 points. Goff stepped into a hopeless situation. Most of us knew that, but from the outside looking in, the Goff experiment looked like a disaster.
This week, Jared Goff looked as sharp as he ever has. He put his receivers in positions where they could make plays, especially his rookies, hitting Gerald Everett on a beautiful deep ball and finding Cooper Kupp in the end zone amongst a sea of blue. He trusted Sammy Watkins to make plays and helped get Todd Gurley going in the passing game when he failed in the running game. For the first time in his career, he looked like somebody worth taking number one overall.
Goff has finally turned the narrative around. The Rams lead the NFL in points, despite having the lowest rushing yards per attempt in the league. Yes, I know the defense scored 14 points, but you know where that doesn’t matter? When you look up who leads the league in scoring. Narrative. For the first time in years, the Rams looked like an exciting football team. They threw the ball deep; they made unbelievable catches; they swarmed the ball. These Rams created turnovers and dominated a team that they should have dominated. They put the rest of the league on notice.
And Goff led them.
Steve Rebeiro is a staff writer and podcast host for Rams Talk. He graduated from Marquette University in 2016. For more of his opinions, follow him on Twitter here.