Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images
At 6-4 after a 1
And that is because they have a recumbent responsibility at the most important position of the sport.
Jared Goff, who entered Sunday as the NFL's sixth-lowest ranked passer, completed just 11 passes against the Bears. Under his guidance, the Rams offense managed only 13 first downs, three conversions from third down and 17 points in a dud game that was closer than it looked.
Woeful Chicago failed to get the Rams to pay for two turnovers in the first quarter, the Bears failed to score on four of their five units that crossed the Los Angeles 40-yard line, and the Rams couldn't pull off a fight opponent until he got an insurance contact late in the fourth quarter.
Bill Barnwell @ billbarnwell
Jared Goff has the biggest negative gap between his expected completion rate and his actual completion rate this season. https://t.co/eCAweuzQDbebrit19659010??When a win is a win, this served as a reminder that it is not Ram's year. Not with Goff, who has completed just 57 percent of his passes in his last six games.
Goff was a Pro Bowler last season and the Rams averaged an NFC-high 32.9 points per game. But a strong defense led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, a fantastic offensive line led by several very successful veterans and a top-notch driving game led by 2018 touchdown leaders Todd Gurley masked much of the 2016 top pick's shortcomings .
Now, with that line of breaks due to departures and injuries and Gurley no longer as productive of a knee injury, Goff's dazzling limitations have been exposed. He has not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 8, and he is lucky to have only three interceptions in the past two weeks.
The Rams scored a total of 29 points in these two matches. It was a mark they reached in 13 of their 16 matches in 2018. Their strong offensive performance this year has generally been against weak and / or vulnerable opponents. And although that was also the case last season – they only scored six points in Chicago, 23 in Denver and 23 at home against Philadelphia 2018 – the trend has become more extreme in 2019.
In three games this season against opponents ranked in the top five in the league of Football Outsiders in defense adjusted value above average (DVOA), Goff has zero touchdown passes, a passing percentage of 55.4 and a passing rating of 58.0. The Rams have an average of only 12 points in these three deals.
It doesn't bode well for his or his team's chances next week against the Red Hot Baltimore Ravens and their growing, opportunistic defense, and they also have to travel to San Francisco in December.
With a small margin for error in a loaded NFC playoffs, this dynamic could leave the reigning conference champions on the sidelines in January.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images
If Goff and Co. had not bullied weak opponents like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals in September and October, the numbers would have But Goff's wide backslide from December is open.
He entered the previous month with a 26-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a completion percentage of 67.7 and a passing rating of 113 , 5. In 15 starts since then, he threw 17 touchdown passes to 16 interceptions, completed 59.9 percent of his throws, and his pass rating is 79.7.
Over the course of what essentially amounts to a full season, he has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, a very inconsistent and unreliable deep passer who is comically wrong under pressure, and he had the league's worst qualifying bad throwing frequency for 10 weeks.
Even with Gur ley to put together his best game o easily during the season it was more of the same from Goff on Sunday night. He joined a couple of deep passes, but he was ineffective under limited pressure, locked in his first reads too often, missed several throws without apology, and he should have been selected at least twice .
Cameron DaSilva @ camdasilva
Good job by Goff to look for safety and find Blake Bortles open along the sidelines
The best throw of the night https://t.co/kZXLuJumX2ebrit19659026??It's good that the Rams defense got their act together after a tough start to the year. Donald is on the road (seven sacks in his last five games), and that unit has only scored 11.0 points per game since Week 7.
But it now seems inevitable that Goff will destroy everything for that defense, even if it didn't happen that night. And that's a shame, as is the fact that the Rams are all-in on Goff. The window is closed by a win-now situation that will lack both salary capacity and capital outlay in the early part of the coming new decade.
They are married to Goff and his new contract of $ 134 million, but every feeling suggests that the extension was a mistake. The Rams remain a challenger despite their franchise quarterback, and it is not a recipe for success in this day and age.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012.