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Goff and Rams Defeat Colts in Impressive Fashion

Jared Goff and Rams beat Colts

The word in the preseason was this: it’s all about Jared Goff.

Everyone knew that Todd Gurley was a capable running back in the NFL, at the very least. Everyone knew that Sean McVay was an offensive guru, and that he had found weapons for the offense in Robert Woods, Gerald Everett, Cooper Kupp, and Sammy Watkins. Anyone could see that the defense, long a strength of the Rams under Jeff Fisher, would play even better under the legendary Wade Phillips. It was apparent. The Rams had weapons. The Rams could make plays, on both sides of the ball. Score points, win games. It could happen.

It was all up to Goff.

Jared Goff, the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, would have to prove that he was a capable quarterback. That he would find a way to use all these shiny new weapons in this innovative scheme. Would Jared Goff stand in there behind a rebuilt, veteran offensive line and deliver strikes?

On Sunday afternoon, in the opening game of the 2017 season, against the Indianapolis Colts, Jared Goff answered that question. Although one game does not a season make, Goff threw bullets. He completed 72% of his passes, going 21 of 29 for 306 yards, and one touchdown strike to Cooper Kupp. He had an impressive 117.9 QB rating. Even more impressive, he threw for 10.55 yards per attempt, nearly doubling his career average through 7 games last year. He was throwing strikes, and he was throwing them downfield to open guys.

Wade Phillips’ defense was as advertised. 4 sacks. 2 interceptions. 2 forced fumbles. A safety. 2 touchdowns off those interceptions. 16 total defensive points (including PATs). The offensive line performed admirably in pass protection, giving Goff time to look downfield and allowing only one sack. There wasn’t a lot of running room for Todd Gurley or Malcolm Brown, but those lanes should open up as teams learn to respect the arm of Jared Goff.

Because Jared Goff came out on Sunday and answered some questions. About his poise. And his arm. About his ability to command an offense built specifically to look downfield, find open receivers, and deliver the football on the money.

The Los Angeles Rams have an offense. The Los Angeles Rams have a quarterback.

Casting aside an aversion to hyperbole for just a moment, the Los Angeles Rams have put together the type of team that goes to playoff games. Beating a downtrodden Indianapolis Colts team on opening day isn’t the stuff of legends, but taking an opponent you are supposed to beat and drubbing them for a 46-9 opening day surge, well, that you can build a legend upon.

Forget 2016. Forget Jeff Fisher’s offense. The legend of Jared Goff started yesterday.

Next week Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams will host the Washington Redskins, McVay’s former team. Kirk Cousins, whom McVay made all-world in Washington, struggled yesterday against the Philadelphia Eagles, and lost. He completed 57% of his passes. He had 6 yards per attempt. His QB ratings was 72.9. McVay’s offense is in LA now.

If Jared Goff commands it again next week, the way he did this week, the legend will build. If the Rams play like they did on Sunday, they could go 2-0 for the first time since 2001. That was a playoff year. And if Gurley and the running game get going, too, watch out. This team could be good.

It’s early. It’s a lot to hope for. But an opening day salvo like the one Jared Goff and the Rams laid down upon the Indianapolis Colts gives us pause to hope. And hope has been missing around the Rams for far too long.

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