In a do-or-die game, the Rams were without Jared Goff and relied on undrafted rookie free agent John Wolford to guide what has been a sputtering offense. While Wolford’s first pass was an interception (because of course, it was) but after that, he settled down and did something fans hadn’t experienced in quite some time, making the offense fun again. Yes, he didn’t throw a touchdown or run one in but just watching him rush for 56 yards and chuck it deep gave the offense energy it had been sorely lacking.
The chemistry with the receivers wasn’t quite there but every time a first down was gained, the sideline (Goff included) would EXPLODE. The problem is that entering the playoffs, the Rams are now faced with a dilemma and that is whether to start Jared Goff with a bum thumb or ride the possibly hot hand of John Wolford in their rubber match with the Seattle Seahawks.
Believe it or not Ripley, this is an actual conundrum, at least amongst fans (Sean McVay probably already knows what he’s going to do), because despite Goff’s resume, experience, and let’s be honest, the contract, he should absolutely start even with a thumb he reattached himself like he was John Wick, so why the debate?
The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Goff’s already shaky reputation as he no longer has the excuses he had last year. The line is better, the running game is better, and the gameplan has been more balanced. Even his ardent defenders (well most of them) acknowledge that this year has been ROUGH. Earlier this season, a piece went up on this very site stating that the Goff experience is more or less a beautiful ride but since that was written, it’s entered the Dewey Cox “THIS IS A DARK F—ING PERIOD”.
He played well against Seattle, Tampa, New England, and the first Arizona game but after 10 days of rest, he was BEFUDDLED by a team Frankenstein would call “the goddamn Jets” in a game where both fan bases wanted to walk into oncoming traffic afterward.
The second Seattle game was like watching a pitcher absolutely crush it on the road but get no run support and eventually lose the game. That was the Rams’ defense. They did everything they could but after the umteenth three-and-out, the defense wore down. Goff and the offense couldn’t score if he had a hundred dollar bill hanging out of his zipper.
Watching him throw passes against a Seattle defense that is running on fumes and reputation (yes they’re better than they were earlier in the season but the point stands). He had one of his INEXPLICABLE interceptions to no one. He fumbled, took dumb sacks, and once again made every fan’s heart stop time after time when he dropped back to pass. To be fair, if Darrell Henderson scores they probably escape Seattle with a win as they don’t turnover on downs on the goal line and the defense can carry the way. And also, the playcalling was bad but given that Henderson left the game with an injury, and they had no Cam Akers, there wasn’t much of a chance to be balanced. Still, it was the clearest distillation of the thing anyone watching the Rams has noticed this season and that’s McVay absolutely does not trust Goff to throw it deep, and honestly, why should he?
Wolford threw it deep nine times against the Cardinals, NINE TIMES. Goff against the Cards only threw it beyond twenty yards once. To throw a little cold water on Wolford for a second, he was playing a depleted Cards defense (which was already not great) that had no real film on him outside of preseason footage and some AAF games so they couldn’t really prepare for him. Again, he didn’t actually put up points himself but, BUT watching him throw it deep whether it was completed or not and watching the bootlegs move at a quicker pace showed what McVay’s system can be.
Does that mean McVay should risk the teams’ best possible shot at winning a title before they have to rebuild the team in a big way? Probably yes. This is the better version of what the Eagles are going through with Carson Wentz. Jalen Hurts is the cheaper, more fun version of what Wentz was supposed to be, and that’s sort of what’s happening in LA. That said, while fans grumble about Goff they haven’t done a full Philly fan heel turn on him yet.
The big decision will likely come as close to game time as possible, both because McVay wants to play games with Pete Carroll and he is doing as much due diligence as he can. He probably winds up going with Goff because of the experience and his thumb is good enough to play. However, more than ever, fans will hope that McVay won’t be as loyal should the Seattle D and the rain prove too much for Goff’s thumb. It might not come to that given that Akers is back and that means it’ll be a run-heavy game so Goff perhaps won’t be asked to do too much.
If the Rams win and make it to Green Bay they’ll ride with Goff and implement a similar gameplan given Lambeau will resemble Hoff. If they lose, then Rams fans will wonder what could’ve been if they went with Wolford, continue to take Peyote, and do some Will Hunting equations until they find a formula that gets them, Deshaun Watson.
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