At the end of the 2020 NFL Season, All-Pro Aaron Donald sat in tears on the visitor’s bench and looked up to the scoreboard: LA Rams 18 Green Bay Packers 31. The tears were not some spoiled reaction of not getting his way. He pushed his body through two, three, and even four blockers at a time all season. But he fell short of pushing through the pain of broken ribs suffered the previous week. The overwhelming sense of “Was this my last chance?” swept over him. The pain, the exhaustion, the wear and tear on the man, came crashing down on him at once. He grieved at the loss of another opportunity.
Head coach Sean McVay looked up at the scoreboard to see the same score: LA Rams 18 Green Bay Packers 31. Instead of tears, he felt rage welling up inside of him. One more close, but no cigar, season ended unceremoniously. He pondered over his roster. Andrew Whitworth would turn 40 next year. Aaron Donald would be entering his eighth NFL season, already boasting seven Pro Bowl appearances and six All-Pro honors. He pondered over the Rams 10-6 season that, by rights, should have been 12-4 or even 13-3. He grew angry because the window for his team to win a Super Bowl was closing.
As quarterback Jared Goff looked up at the scoreboard, he saw the score: LA Rams 18 Green Bay Packers 31. He almost exhaled a sigh of relief. The Rams had lost, but he hadn’t turned the football over. Even playing on a semi-repaired thumb on his throwing, Goff had managed to throw 21 of 27 times for 174 yards and a touchdown. Not great, but not bad either. Better than feared. Goff turned his eyes back to the football field. Another season had come. Another season had gone. It was okay. Jared Goff was still rather young in terms of his football career. We’ll get ’em next year hovered in his thought for a moment as he turned and headed for the visiting team’s locker room.
2020 was a very difficult season for everyone in the Rams organization. But the season was particularly disappointing for quarterback Jared Goff. After struggling behind a bad offensive line in 2019, he was directed to improve his ability to move in the pocket and throw on the move. He showed flashes of improving early in the season but fell into familiar bad habits by the end of October. By season’s end, he had posted just 20 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and five fumbles, numbers that would be very similar to 2019. . Looking up at the scoreboard, he felt frustrated with himself. But he knew that he would bear the brunt of an even more frustrated head coach. It’s safe to say that LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff was not having fun.