This was a half of football in three acts.
Act I - Jared Goff Arrives
Rookie franchise QB Jared Goff, the #1 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft for whom the Rams traded away six picks to acquire, has hardly looked his draft status this preseason. But on the first drive, Goff moved the sticks (aided by a missed call when he scrambled two yards beyond the line of scrimmage before firing downfield for WR Bradley Marquez) to set up a beautiful back-shoulder TD throw to WR Kenny Britt.
Emotion: Inspired intrigue
Act II - Rams-Vikings Football
We saw this last year. The Rams played an ugly, physical, Fisherball game in early November at a relatively unknown stadium for the Vikings in which the Rams’ defense put consistent physical effect on to Minnesota’s QB until injuries forced a change at the position.
SO MUCH HAS CHANGED.
At the time, the Rams were 4-3. They went on to lose 21-18 in overtime sparking a five-game losing streak.
Would be nice if the fortunes didn’t match the outcome...
Emotion: Fisherball malaise
Act III - Goff...Remains Off
If Goff’s first series, capped by a touchdown, offered inspired intrigue, what followed in the final minutes of the first half was...dread.
Jared Goff’s last 5 third-down plays:— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) September 2, 2016
Bails out on the throw
Muffs shotgun snap inside his 10-yard line
That was followed by a tip-drill interception.
With 2:43 to go in the half, the Rams led 7-0. Just 2:10 later, the Rams were down 7-13 on three consecutive scoring series for the Vikings...
Emotion: Dread Pirate Roberts
Look, it’s just the preseason. But it’s four games of the preseason. The Rams tried to get Jared Goff up to speed for Week 1 of the regular season. Either they or he or a combination thereof failed. Blatantly. Miserably.
And now, the Rams have one half to help guide the decisions to finalize a 53-man roster to open the season a week from Monday on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.
If there was a way to end the preseason to fill Rams fans with hope, this wasn’t it. And I think we needed one.