Observers so far have been extremely uncomfortable going all-in on Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff. So after his worst game in a long while as a Ram, Goff fed the developing narrative that he can’t play in the cold. And before that, it was that he can’t play well under bad coaching.
Not sure what’s more damning, but does it really matter?
Jared Goff played poorly in both cold away games in Denver and in Chicago where the temperature hovered around 25 degrees. Against the Denver Broncos, Goff had a 50% completion percentage with 201 passing yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Against the Chicago Bears, it was more like a frosty nightmare: 180 passing yards, 45.5%, no touchdowns and four interceptions.
So hello, narrative. Goff has tiny cold hands and won’t be able to play outside in December outside of SoCal.
"Jared Goff was absolutely befuddled. But he wasn't befuddled by the Bears' defense, it was the artic air of Chicago. The 12th man of the frozen tundra of Soldier Field."— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) December 10, 2018
Responding to questions about Goff’s poor play being blamed on the cold, Coach Sean McVay said this:
“I don’t think that affected him. I think, again, there were some great throws that he made in that game yesterday and then there were certainly a handful of situations where he was put in tough spots.”
And that leads to a question. If the poor play isn’t a product of some “cold weather flaw” that is embedded in Goff’s makeup as a QB, then what’s the deal with his on-and-off struggles this season? Is Goff still growing and this recent effort in Chicago is just a learning experience, or this the real Jared that we should just accept from time to time? Will we be seeing similar fluctuations in performance five years from now?
Until now, it seemed that any criticism of Goff seemed reactionary, but at some point a player stops maturing and getting better and just is the kind of player they’ll always be. With a guy like Goff, I would have thought that he had another season before I could say with certainty if his ceiling has been hit.
It’s strange that even though he’s the son of Jerry Goff, a former Major League Baseball player, Goff still has this whiff of an underdog — an otherwise successful talent that has been dogged by intermittent misfortune. Even his reputation as a collegiate player for Cal revolved around his adversity that he showed after getting his ass handed to him during this freshman year going 1-11, yet still throwing for over 3,500 yards. His seven games as rookie under Jeff Fisher still lingers in the air, mixing with the reality that Goff leads a team that is currently 11-2.
Since the Bears loss was on the national stage, the narrative that Jared Goff struggled mightily against strong defenses on the road is going to be an easy take, and why not? Even if the Los Angeles Rams hold home field advantage throughout the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, the offseason think pieces are still going to wonder if Jared Goff can keep the magic going on the road, in the cold, against a strong defense.
Eventually, our 24-year-old QB is going to find himself in an NFC championship game in Green Bay or Chicago and until then...
The book on Jared Goff remains unfinished.