The Breakout Game
No Aqib Talib? No problem.
In Goff, we trust.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins torching the Los Angeles Rams secondary? No problem.
In Goff, we trust.
Missing a crucial field goal at the end of the game? No problem.
In Goff, we trust.
In what will go down as the career breakout game for QB Jared Goff, the Rams beat the Vikings, 38-31, in a thrilling Thursday night nationally televised game, upping their record to 4-0.
The Rams have, through their history going back to days of the great Norm “The Dutchman” Van Brocklin and most recently Kurt Warner, had some great quarterback performances. The performance by QB Jared Goff was for the aged ranking right up there with the great ones.
While there was a boatload of purple and yellow, the Rams fans were louder and finally had a home field advantage which had the Coliseum rocking. From my location in the same seats my father had high up in the Coliseum since 1946, I could see every long pass developing watching the ball be perfectly placed into either WRs Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods or Brandin Cooks hands. Touchdown Rams!
I haven’t seen a performance like that since WR Harold Jackson caught four touchdowns from QB John Hadl against the Dallas Cowboys. But there was a difference. Jackson was wide open, and even I could have made that those throws. In this game, the looking off of the safety and the pinpoint accuracy were a thing of beauty harkening back to the days of QB Joe Montana torching the Rams. Yes, that’s how good Jared Goff was. Montana-like.
His five touchdown passes could never have been accomplished without the unsung heroes: LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Rodger Saffold, C John Sullivan, RG Austin Blythe and RT Rob Havenstein all of whom deserve as much credit for Goff’s success as Goff. This offensive line through four weeks has provided him a pocket and plenty of time for Jared to make these throws. They were outstanding in this game as well.
But as good as the offense was under Goff, the Rams still have more work to do to make it to the big game.
The Rams’ special teams
Not counting either Kupp or KR Blake Countess, the Rams’ special teams were absolute garbage. K Sam Ficken missed a gimme field goal which would have iced the game. Unacceptable (and clearly the team agrees having replaced Ficken with Cairo Santos). P Johnny Hekker shanked a punt, his second of the year, at a crucial moment the Rams needed a kick to land inside the Vikes’ 25-yard line. Terrible.
The Rams’ defense
The Rams’ secondary got torched by Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins while WR Adam Thielen solidified his role as one of the best receivers in the game. Yet when it counted most, the Rams’ defense came through by holding the Vikings to field goals on two key drives.
DT Aaron Donald finally got his sack, two of them in total, and coming off the edge DT Ndamukong Suh got his first as well. The Law Firm of Johnathan Franklin-Myers came up with huge strip fumble which sealed the fate of the Vikings leading to the victory formation at the end the game.
As I said in my preview, the Rams defense didn’t need to be perfect, just good enough. They accomplished that.
They still need consistency at the edge rusher position and better play in the secondary, but the Vikings had the fourth-rated pass offense in the league coming into the game. To say that the Rams would be able to totally shut them down was foolhardy. The Rams defense got the job done.
They did enough.
While I still have some concerns, the Rams’ defense is getting better each week, Playing without Talib and an injured CB Marcus Peters not 100% percent, the current secondary unit will improve over time.
The Rams’ offense
How can I honestly write an article second guessing the Rams offense after that game?
The scheming by Head Coach Sean McVay getting the wide receivers match upped with LB Anthony Barr in man-to-man coverage was ingenious.
And with Goff making the proper reads, looking off the safety, and throwing darts for touchdowns, the Rams’ offense was on fire.
But I do have a criticism.
THE RAMS PUNTED TWICE.
If you’re living in Los Angeles and you’re not at the Coliseum watching the Rams live, your missing an exciting team and event.
The crowd was loud, raucous, the Coliseum was rocking and rolling.
It made a difference.
You could feel it. Sense it. It was a playoff atmosphere.
Sitting with my son, I was reminded of what my own father must have thought about me with his crazy, fanatic son that he unleashed onto the NFL world. Sitting in those same seats we shared together, my own son jumped into my arms five times screaming, “Touchdown!”
The feeling we shared of pure joy and astonishment at what we were witnessing is what creating memories that last a lifetime are all about. After that game, there’s no doubt our Rams legacy started by my father will continue with my own son.
Its still early in the season and our Rams have a long way to go, so we should temper our enthusiasm just a bit. But, as a diehard I can’t stop this wonderful feeling I have because I know this team will only get better.
We have a championship-caliber team.