The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense wanted Jared Goff to throw the ball. That’s how they knew they were going to beat the Los Angeles Rams. The defense gave up the flat. The Eagles made the conscious decision that if the Rams were going to beat them, they’d have to do so with short passes and the running game.
And guess what happened?
In the week leading up to the game, the narrative was that Chicago gave everyone a blueprint for beating Sean McVay. The more accurate statement was the Bears (and now the Eagles) figured out how to expose Goff in a McVay offense.
These defenses made Goff look like he was still a rookie in the Jeff Fisher offense. He was easily agitated despite consistently sending just four rushes. He didn’t utilize his check-downs. He made mistakes.
Goff played right into the defense’s hand.
First throw: 3rd and 11
This is the Rams first third-down situation on the first drive of the game. The Rams go with their bread-and-butter 11-personnel look (one running back, one tight end, three receivers). Goff has four options underneath (Gerald Everett, Bradin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Robert Woods). He has one option, Josh Reynolds, running a deep post route.
Now, look at this defense. This 4-1-6 formation was a frequent look of the Eagles defense. The Eagles sent four rushers while the rest of the defense plays deep, allowing Goff all underneath options. Yet, Goff chooses to throw to Reynolds for the big first down play. The Eagles had Cover 1 and played their free safety (Avonte Addams) playing up near the line.
Addams sat in the middle of Reynolds and Everett. When Goff made the throw, Reynolds had both safeties on him by the time the ball comes near him. The Rams punted.
Second throw: First and 10
Again, Rams came out in 11-personnel but this time the Eagles have a base 4-3-4. The play calls for two receivers (Reynolds and Cooks) to run seam routes while two others (Gurley and Woods) run short option routes.
By the time Goff sets his feet, his two deep options are facing five men in pass-coverage. Gurley and Woods are against 1-on-1 coverage near the line of scrimmage. Yet, Goff chooses Reynolds, again, who has Maddox on top of him for the latter half of the route. Goff chooses to throw a risky pass to Reynolds. Maddox, of course, ends up intercepting the pass.
Goff had Woods for a 2-3-yard gain. If he wanted a deep route, he could have possibly squeezed in a pass to Cooks.
This is how the coverage looked over Cooks and Reynolds by the time Goff began his throwing motion. But this pass didn’t even need to be thrown in the first place. At this point, the second quarter is barely three minutes in and the Rams just had a 19-yard rush from Woods. Forcing the ball was an unnecessary risk I’m sure McVay didn’t advise Goff to take. The third-year quarterback forced the throw.
The Red zone
With under 30 seconds left in the second quarter, the Rams got into the red zone. Goff rode a 6-completion hot streak to get there. The thought must have been to ride that momentum to the end-zone because Gurley wasn’t given the ball once for a run.
The Rams came away with just a field goal after some of the most bizarre throws I’ve seen inside the red zone. These throws were blatantly unnecessary. They fail to be called “risky” because the throw is nowhere near the target, who is Reynolds on all three throws.
Goff throws a deep pass that’s way overthrown and off his back foot. Woods, who is on a slant route, is wide open. If Goff chose the underneath route, it would have put the Rams close to the first-down.
Everybody is sent towards the end-zone. Woods, again, is the best option. He puts a swim move over the defender to get open for tight window, but Goff chooses the deep throw and ends up overthrowing Reynolds.
Goff has no options here. Everyone is sent and the Eagles defense blankets the end-zone. Nowhere to throw it but over everyone’s heads. The Eagles’ defense was in their 4-1-6 look on all three throws. On the first two throws, the underneath routes were option. Yet, Goff chose to go deep.
Sixth Throw: 3rd and 13
The Rams are in another deep-yardage situation. They need a touchdown. The Eagles 4-1-6 sits blankets the end-zone once again. But Goff has an option in Gurley, who’s found a narrow seam in the defense.
There’s only four rushers against the offensive line and while they were progressing, there was enough time to make the throw. But Goff throws the ball off-balance and misses Gurley.
This picture’s definition sucks, but it’s good enough to give you an idea of how much space Goff still had before the pressure came to his face. The way he threw that ball made it seems like he was about to be swarmed. He panicked and rushed the throw.
Look at his stance in mid-motion. This is how he threw the ball without pressure in his face.
Jared Goff isn’t a system quarterback. He’s a young guy who needed some tutelage from a guy like McVay. But if the last two weeks have shown us anything, it’s that there’s still plenty of work to be done.