Over the course of the last decade, looking forward as a Rams fan has been a terrifying experience.
While the quality of the product the Rams fielded has improved under Head Coach Jeff Fisher compared to the immediate years prior, the frustration fans feel has not decreased since those dark days. Fisherball is infuriating to watch, but it has it's moments.
Those moments have come more frequently early in the 2016 season.
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't expect the Rams to be 3-1 at the quarter mark of the 2016 campaign. With games against the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and a rising Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, I pictured a 2-2 start as a best case scenario with 1-3 being much more likely than 3-1.
And yet, here we are.
Forgive me for being #TooNegative for a moment, but the margin of error is thinner with this team than any other team I can remember. Their -13 point differential - while attributable to an ugly week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers - is not indicative of long-term success. Seeing how they sustain winning with such a thin margin of error will be interesting in the coming weeks.
At 3-1, Rams fans find themselves in an unfamiliar place. Instead of thinking about #7and9Bullshit or future draft status after the first quarter of the season, fans are left to consider the other side of the standings and/or...playoff seedings.
But really look at the Rams next two games leading up to their Week 7 matchup with the New York Giants in London.... it's exciting.
After getting their ass handed to them by the 49ers, the Rams were able to beat the two big brothers in their division. They've staked their claim on the division and now have to do something they haven't been able to do consistently under Jeff Fisher:
Win outside the division.
With an unexpectedly juicy matchup looming next weekend against the Buffalo Bills, the Rams are burdened with the weight of being looked at as a contender for the first time under Fisher.
The Bills will come to LA riding back-to-back wins over both Conference Championship losers from 2015. It'd be wise for Fisher and the Rams to tread cautiously. QB Tyrod Taylor and the Bills will come to the Coliseum on a two-game winning streak while the Rams await them on their own three-game streak. It's an early season battle that has the potential to really launch the Rams into playoff contention - or tank their early season progress. As Rams fans we've been conditioned over the past 10+ years to expect failure, especially when things are going well.
Following a matchup with the Bills, the Rams travel to Detroit to face the 1-3 Lions. Now I'm not looking past either of team, but there is a chance the Rams could be 5-1 heading to London. That sentence was legitimately hard for me to write. We're so used to the other foot dropping that it's hard to enjoy success.
But damnit I'm gonna try.