When the Eagles and the Rams got together last December, the consensus was that the second pick in the 2016 draft (Carson Wentz) had become a franchise quarterback, and that the first pick in the 2016 (Jared Goff) hadn’t. This morning, and in light of the injury suffered by Wentz in that game from last December, would anyone take Wentz over Goff?
And don’t give me the “Goff has Sean McVay” nonsense. Wentz has Doug Pederson. Most franchise quarterbacks enjoy above average to great coaching. And that helps franchise quarterbacks become even greater.
What football witnessed last night from Goff was greatness.
“I think just a comfort level,” McVay told reporters after the 38-31 win over Minnesota. “I think he’s got such a great command right now and you know he’s intentional about getting better. [Quarterbacks coach] Zac Taylor has done a great job with him. Really just having him make sure that he has an ownership of the game plan, understands what we’re trying to get done and you know that constant dialogue, that communication that we talk about being on the same page. At the end of the day I think he’s just thrown the ball extremely well. When things are in rhythm he’s been outstanding, giving guys a chance to run after the catch. Then you look at a couple of plays where we ended up running some bootlegs. He’s going to his left, getting his shoulders around, hitting [Brandin] Cooks in stride, hitting Robert Woods, so there’s a handful of plays that he made tonight that are just a great player making great plays, but then also when things were there in rhythm I thought he was outstanding.”
Goff, a mild-mannered, soft-spoken gunslinger who will rip out the heart of a defense and show it to them, was mild-mannered and soft spoken after he ripped out the heart of the Vikings defense and showed it to them.
“It felt pretty good all night,” Goff said after the win that moved his team to 4-0. “I thought we did a great job protecting, as we’ve done most of the season this year and, really, all of the season this year. Just keeping me upright and anytime that happens, we’ve got such good guys on the outside and try to get the ball in their hands and let them make plays. Tonight, we were able to do that.”
On one of the most impressive throws anyone will make — a pigskin through the eye of a needle touchdown throw to Cooper Kupp — Goff was humble.
“You know, kind of taking a little bit of a chance there and got away with it, but that’s what happens when you’ve got good players,” Goff said. “I trust Cooper [Kupp] and he ran right through it. Wasn’t sure if he was in bounds or not, but he made a good catch on it. I think that just shows kind of my trust in him.”
Every year, Goff has gotten better. Every week this season, Goff has gotten better. And the Rams have gotten better. Last night, he generated the oddly-precise perfect passer rating of 158.3, completing 26 of 43 throws for 465 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions.
And it actually looked like Goff would do even better than that, based on the first half of the game. He finished the second quarter with 251 yards and four touchdowns, putting him in position to challenge the all-time single-game yardage record (554 from former Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, in 1951) and the all-time single-game passing touchdown record (seven, from multiple players).
It looked a lot like the football equivalent of the basketball team that used to play in the venue located near the team’s new stadium in Inglewood.
“I don’t know,” Goff told reporters after the game with a laugh. “I wasn’t alive.”
He is now, and what a time it is to be alive and be an NFL fan. There’s a golden age of young quarterbacks, from Goff to Wentz to Patrick Mahomes to Baker Mayfield to Josh Allen to Sam Darnold to Deshaun Watson to Josh Rosen (maybe) to Lamar Jackson (maybe) to Dak Prescott (maybe) to whoever else keeps emerging from a pipeline that is suddenly bubbling more crude than Jed Clampett’s back 40.