No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff made his long-awaited NFL debut on Sunday, and aside from one nice scramble that was immediately called back for a penalty, there was little to write home about from the Rams rookie.
Goff didn’t throw any interceptions or turn the ball over, but he also didn’t much throw the ball down field. And this was by design: the Rams kept things extremely simple for Goff on a rainy Los Angeles day against a stingy Miami defence, meaning he mostly handed the ball off and threw short passes.
His stat line: 17 for 31 (54%) for 134 yards. That averaged out to 4.3 yards per completion, and his longest play of the day was 21 yards. It’s hard to take much from that.
That scramble, though, did offer a glimpse (however small) of some promise. Taking off in a collapsing pocket and scurrying for a 1st down (or 3rd-and-10) should be par for the course in the NFL, but reports throughout the first nine weeks of the season were that Goff was not nearly ready to play. That takes confidence and poise. And, more to the point, check out the reaction of his teammates when Goff seems to pick up the 1st down:
The genuine excitement from his bench after he dives for the new set of downs is noticeable. Sometimes in a lost season, something this small goes a long way.
Otherwise, though, Goff’s job was thoroughly forgettable.
As ESPN’s Ed Werder put it:
Jared Goff’s longest completion travelled 7 yards, and he finished just 5-of-11 for 64 yards on passes thrown more than 5 yards downfield.
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) November 21, 2016
Even Jeff Fisher was tepid in his praise of Goff after the game:
“He did a really good job,” Fisher said. “No delay of games. He was in complete control in the huddle. He did a nice job on the line of scrimmage. I was disappointed in the outcome of the game, but you could see the light — there’s light there for him.”
In all, it’s hard to know much about Goff’s performance. The Rams blew a 10-0 lead in the 4th quarter and look well on their way to another 7-9 season. Fisher, meanwhile, is four losses away from losing the most games of any coach in NFL history.
Hopefully as the season winds to a close we’ll see the Rams give Goff more responsibility. That will give us a better sense of what Goff’s capable of. It’s also likely that we’ll see Goff in a completely new offence next season, under a new head coach. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
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