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LA Rams 24, Oakland Raiders 21: Off And On

How much of the preseason is the preseason?

Los Angeles Rams WRs Cooper Kupp & Sammy Watkins
Los Angeles Rams WRs Cooper Kupp & Sammy Watkins
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Well. The Los Angeles Rams won a close one to the Oakland Raiders tonight, and that matters...not at all.

What matters is whether or not tonight matters.

Does it matter that QB Jared Goff was 16/20 on pace for 300 yards? Does it matter that he didn’t turn the ball over? Does it matter that the offense was near perfect on third downs and might have been were it not for a sack by Raiders DE Khalil Mack?

What of the defense, without a bevy of starters in DE Aaron Donald, OLB Robert Quinn, ILB Mark Barron, CB Kayvon Webster and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman? The Rams did struggle against the top of Oakland’s offensive depth chart, but the Raiders do offer one of the strongest offenses in the NFL. Does it matter that QB Derek Carr had the Raiders’ offense cooking (save for an interception from CB Trumaine Johnson) given the Rams’ adjusted starting lineup?

What really matter in mid-August?

When it does matter, when we reach the end of the calendar year and crucial regular season games begin leading up to postseason action, opportunities are created for the best to make themselves known in the most crucial moments, for individuals to elevate their games, for teams to prove themselves.

But the game’s greatest players, the sea of individuals that make up NFL rosters, the 32 teams that play this game, all of them are here. In the middle of August doing something. Doing something that leads to what will happen in the regular season, the postseason and for those few individuals and teams, what will happen in the Super Bowl.

The question tonight is, does tonight matter?