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Jared Goff endured a miserable first appearance in the Super Bowl as the Los Angeles Rams were defeated by the New England Patriots in Atlanta. Goff entered the contest, leading the second-highest scoring offense in the NFL. However, the Rams were stymied by a brilliant defensive effort from the Patriots, being limited to only three points.
Tom Brady rose to the occasion as he has done throughout his career in the fourth quarter to take the game away from Sean McVay’s men. Goff had the chance to respond, only be intercepted by Stephon Gilmore at the crux point in the contest to effectively end the game.
McVay, Goff, and Todd Gurley entered the game with sterling reputations – none more so than the head coach, who has revolutionized the concept of hiring young offensive minds in the NFL. McVay and more notably his quarterback failed to cope with the bright lights of the Super Bowl. It will be a test of character for both men to bounce back next term.
New England became the first team since the 1973 Miami Dolphins to win the Super Bowl after losing the game the previous season. The Rams will return with the majority of the same roster from last term, most importantly the key players on their team, including Goff, Gurley, Aaron Donald, Brandin Cooks, and Aqib Talib. Therefore, they’re already one of the leading candidates at +700 in Pickswise’s early NFL Picks to claim the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIV in Miami, although a lot will rest on the form of their quarterback.
Goff was selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft after the Rams used a significant amount of capital to acquire top spot. After being sat behind Case Keenum for a portion of the year, Goff was thrown into the action and struggled in his seven starts, although the offense during Jeff Fisher’s tenure in Los Angeles was underwhelming, to say the least. The arrival of McVay in the 2017 season brought out the best in his ability, throwing 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Gurley was the centerpiece of the offense and eased the pressure on Goff to make clutch throws. However, when it came to crunch time in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons, Dan Quinn was able to halt the offensive juggernaut, forcing the game into Goff’s hands, which resulted in a defeat for the Rams in the Wildcard Round.
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) February 18, 2019
It was expected that Los Angeles would learn from the experience and with further talent in the form of Cooks, Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh. The Rams hit the ground running and won their opening eight games of the term using their offense through Goff and Gurley to bludgeon their opponents. Injuries started to mount towards the end of the term, with Goff seeing a decline in his production after the loss of Cooper Kupp. Gurley suffered a knee issue, which affected him down the stretch and put further pressure on the quarterback.
Goff failed to thrive against the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, which resulted in the Rams losing out on the top seed in the NFC. The running game through CJ Anderson and Gurley secured Los Angeles’ first post-season win since the 2005 campaign, although not much was forced on Goff during the game. The 24-year-old did rise to the occasion in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints. Although the result was marred by a controversial call, the play of the quarterback was encouraging heading into the Super Bowl.
However, the Patriots used their guile and experience to torment Goff. New England shut down the running game and took away the simple passes over the middle, forcing the 24-year-old to beat them with throws into tight windows. The degree of difficulty along with constant pressure resulted in the Rams setting the joint-record for fewest points scored in a Super Bowl. Goff has impressed under McVay, but it’s tough to determine whether his success is down to himself or the advantageous positions he has been placed in by his head coach. He has a lot of questions to answer in the 2019 campaign and beyond.