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Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff had perhaps his worst performance in the biggest game of his career

Timing is everything.

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff walks off the field after throwing an interception against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019.
Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff walks off the field after throwing an interception against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

What really stings for me, especially as a quarterback, is that our defense played so well -- and I wasn’t able to deliver. It was me. It was our offense. And we -- well, I -- couldn’t do my part.

It wasn’t a game we needed 30 points to win. We needed two touchdowns, and I couldn’t get it done. That’s on me. I’m the guy who has to drive this offense.

That was Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff speaking to NFL Media’s Mike Silver after the Rams’ painful loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII last night, 3-13.

There’s no need to sugarcoat things. Goff was horrible. This piece from Steven Ruiz over at For the Win breaks down just how bad Goff was on the biggest stage of his career.

There are two bits of context that I think are relevant here as we process what happened last night and what it means for Goff.

For one, his support structure was horrendous.

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay didn’t put Goff in favorable conditions whatsoever. RB Todd Gurley, injured and hamstrung snap count-wise, couldn’t take pressure off of him. The offensive line was routinely beaten putting Goff into adverse conditions. And Goff’s wide receivers too often didn’t make plays for him.

So while Goff deserves criticism, we should at least differentiate this game from others in which his support structure played well and Goff didn’t. This was more widespread failure.

But that leads to the second point. Growth and response.

Yes, this was the biggest game of Goff’s career. And yes, he was unable to meet the moment with the required performance. But for a third-year QB who is just 24-years old, we’ve seen this kind of thing before.

We saw it in 2016 when he went 0-7 as a rookie looking absolutely abysmal leading to outside suggestions that the “bust” label was perhaps already appropriate. Goff promised to give everything in his heart soul to get it fixed. And he did. In 2017, Goff helped turn things around under McVay to get the Rams into the playoffs. Again, Goff failed. Against the Atlanta Falcons in the wild card round, Goff absolutely stalled out in the second half again without a strong performance from Gurley and the offensive line with playcalling questions raised about McVay. This year, Goff marshaled the Rams past the Dallas Cowboys and provided some late-game heroics against the New Orleans Saints that couldn’t be attributed to anyone but Goff. Simply put, he was making plays on his own to win the NFC Championship. And that got us to last night.

I get it. Goff is getting quite a bit of criticism today by media and fans who, understandably, saw Goff shrivel in the spotlight of the Super Bowl. And while we can be honest that these kinds of things aren’t always consistently linear, we’ve seen Goff step up every year to this point in his career. Each season, he has raised the bar and pushed the ceiling only to fail closer to the ultimate goal.

He knows he has to be better. Much like McVay, Goff is quick to take responsibility and shoulder the blame in situations like this. Again from Silver’s piece:

I’d like to play better in a moment like this.And I will be better because of it. I’ll try to learn from it, and process it, and get better moving forward. I understand all that.

But it’s pretty tough to think about right now, because we had a great opportunity, and we didn’t capitalize on it. It’s my job to lead us. I didn’t get it done, and it sucks.

It does. And I’d guess he’s going to be thinking about that all offseason.

And because of who he his and what we’ve seen from him to this point, I wouldn’t bet against him raising the bar yet again in 2019 and providing a response to last night that makes it seem like the distant past instead of a career-defining game.