The Rams selected Jared Goff first overall in the 2016 Draft, in hopes of finding their quarterback for the future. Goff struggled mightily in his rookie year but turned it around in 2017 under new head coach Sean McVay.
Goff took major strides in 2018, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately for Goff and the Rams, the offense could only muster three points against the New England defense.
Despite this poor performance, Goff was still projected to return to his Pro Bowl form for the 2019 season. However, Goff has looked more like his rookie self as the Rams have lost three straight after a 3-0 start.
Simply put, Goff is not playing up to his standards, but the question is, what has gone wrong this season?
The answer to that question can be attributed to several things, but it starts with the lack of production from running back Todd Gurley. Gurley was an All-Pro back last season and was instrumental to the Rams’ road to a Super Bowl appearance.
Gurley and Goff’s effectiveness is solely dependent on each other.
However, Gurley has not been the same this year. He’s struggled with arthritis in his knee and has been limited all season. As expected, his play has declined, and the Rams’ offense as a whole has felt the impact.
Without having Gurley as a reliable workhorse, defenses have adjusted their gameplan by defending against the pass, making it harder for Goff to be effective.
The 49ers, in particular, neutralized Goff in Week 6, holding him to a career-low 78 passing yards in Gurley’s absence.
Furthermore, Goff’s play has declined as part of a worsened Offensive Line. While the O-Line might not be the flashiest unit in football, it’s certainly instrumental to winning and to good quarterback play. During their 13-3 season in 2018, Los Angeles’ offensive line was ranked as the NFL’s sixth-best by Pro Football Focus.
This year the O-Line has dropped to dead last in PFF’s rankings through six weeks, leading to Goff having little time to throw and almost no impact in the running game.
Additionally, Goff deserves blame for his struggles and inconsistency. While he’s shown promise in small spurts during the season, his effectiveness hasn’t been sustained.
He’s thrown just seven touchdowns through six games and has already racked up seven interceptions, matching his total for the entire 2017 season. Needless to say, Goff is playing his worst football since his rookie season.
As aforementioned, the circumstances for Goff haven’t been ideal, but he’s still surrounded by a trio of great receivers, along with Sean McVay, one of the best offensive minds in the NFL.
Goff will get his best chance to bounce back after a 78 yard zero touchdown performance against San Francisco this weekend as the Rams travel to Atlanta to take on the sixth-worst defense in the NFL. Gurley will be in the backfield next to Goff and former 33rd overall pick Austin Corbett will be playing center, adding even more reason for improved performance.
*preview photo credited New York Post
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