Are the Rams a great team or a great story?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Los Angeles Rams coaching staff along with Jared Goff
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 06: Los Angeles Rams coaching staff along with Jared Goff /

Most fans will be comforted in the idea the the 2017 Los Angeles Rams had an amazing season, despite losing in the playoffs to the Atlanta Falcons. But a great story doesn’t mean they are necessarily a great team.

It was all kinds of good to great stuff this season for the Los Angeles Rams, ending, some may say, prematurely in a 26-13 playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons. As for the season itself, to look back is to finally have an opportunity to figure out what exactly the 2017 season ended up being.

Great team or great story?

Frankly, you can only answer that question in a few select ways given the abundance of good fortune and success found in Year One under head coach Sean McVay.

But honesty in an assessment is necessary in that the Rams flameout in their loss Saturday night may have been either a matter of time, or a moment that truly was bigger than the team.

It’s likely more the latter than the former.

Los Angeles WAS a good team that won 11 games by being the better team on the field probably 9 times, with the exceptions being games against the Falcons this weekend, and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14.

McVay found the keys to second year quarterback Jared Goff, and deployed an offense that relaunched running back Todd Gurley. For all the right buttons that the first year head coach pushed, he did err twice in as many weeks in sitting his starters in Week 17 against San Francisco, and in forcing feeding a passing game that despite the numbers for Goff, was more miss than hit.

Especially early in the game.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 06: Quarterback Jared Goff
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 06: Quarterback Jared Goff /

And before super fan points to the absurd notion that Goff’s success Saturday night is measured more in his not turning the ball over than in actually being able to engineer more than one touchdown drive, I’d simply ask you to note the anemic offensive performance in the one game they could not afford to have an anemic performance.

Bottom line, the truth doesn’t care about moral victories, and Saturday night can only go in the moral victories column.

Now, does that mean that the 2017 Los Angeles Rams are ONLY a great story more than they are a great team?

Well, it’s worth noting they won the NFC West by splitting with a Seahawks squad who’s first team defense was on the bench with injuries in a Week 15 Rams blowout, a split with a 6-10 49ers team, and by twice beating an aging, on the verge of rebuilding Arizona Cardinals.

Conversely, they lost to what many believed was the best team in the NFC and maybe the league in the Eagles before they lost Carson Wentz, and lost on the road to the eventual top seed in the conference in Minnesota.

Next: NFL Power Rankings: Rams eliminated from playoffs

On the whole, over 16 regular season games and one playoff appearance, the Rams offer more of a mixed bag that points to a team who is worlds better than they had been, but will have an MO that teams will key in on next year.

Los Angeles has a high ceiling, and the hope is Goff continues to improve, Gurley doesn’t take a step back, and McVay continues to be the “real deal” after his first season.

Easier said than done.