Did Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff silence the critics last night? Probably not. But if his play begins to do just that, then Saturday night in Oakland may be an indicator of good things to come.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff had a first half he’ll remember in LA’s 24-21 win against the Oakland Raiders. On an evening where he’d lead a 16 play drive eating up nine minutes of the second quarter resulting in a Greg Zuerlein field goal, the instant analysis is that of a defining moment in a young quarterback’s development.
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And it was, sort of.
But let’s not confuse the second game of the preseason with a career changing moment late in an NFL season.
Don’t confuse what I’m saying. Goff had a great night. The first-team offense had a great night. Of equal importance, running back Todd Gurley had a great night. But a preseason game in August is something to talk about, something to feel good about, but not an argument to put the skepticism to bed.
Not yet, at least.
Goff attempted 20 passes and completed 16 of them. He tossed one of those for a touchdown to rookie Cooper Kupp, and one to who may emerge as the Rams number one receiver, Sammy Watkins. Goff looked poised and in control, and out of a shotgun formation the Rams may finally be on to something that they were missing last season.
He looked like an NFL quarterback.
For Los Angeles, it was a chance to focus on a young team building around a young quarterback, led by the league’s youngest head coach.
It was a good night, no doubt about it.
But the ‘feel good moment’ of Week 2 of preseason football will be a distant memory if the Rams are nursing an upside down record come the second half of the 2017 season. Last night, Goff showed he could play with the big boys. But that was LAST NIGHT!
Let’s not confuse this stepping stone moment with the reality that there is a long way to go. If last night in Oakland was the first of many ‘firsts’ for the second year quarterback, then that may be the best part of Goff’s growth and the Rams back in LA.
But putting to bed the doubt and wonder if he can live up to the trade that made his selection possible?
Not yet. He’s not there yet, and neither is this team.
But there is a lot of good to point to and say maybe he’s finally on the way.
Let’s see if last night is an indicator that Gurley can be the type of running back we saw in 2015. If he can be, or get close, Goff’s job gets exponentially better.
Can Kupp be “the guy” to come up with timely catches to bail out the Rams offense or come up with a late TD to win a game? Let’s hope the flashes we see say, “yes he can.”
And what of Watkins? He had one catch and one near touchdown grab. Can he ultimately be the home run, down the field receiver the Rams have been desperate for, and that Goff absolutely needs?
And we still have yet to see what and how Tavon Austin fits into what is now an offensive-centric team.
All will contribute to the possibility that Jared Goff and LA have finally turned the corner.
Last night may only be an indication he’s on his way. But the game in Oakland can’t be a blip. It needs to be the beginning of a trend. A trend that Goff is finally emerging as the franchise quarterback the Rams paid a ton for to draft two spring’s ago.
It’s one game in the preseason. A solid showing no doubt, but a lot will happen this season before the jury can return a fair verdict.
Ultimately, not Gurley, Kupp, Watkins, a tight end, or Sean McVay himself will determine what that verdict is. It’ll boil down to Goff himself as to what decision is ultimately reached. But if last night is not a blip, then maybe, maybe the guy everyone hoped for has finally shown up.
Hey, better late than never.