As the 2017 season has gone on, quarterback Jared Goff has crossed off a lot of "firsts."
His first season with over 3,000 yards passing. His first season with 20 passing touchdowns. His first time facing many of the teams, and playing in the different stadiums around the league.
But on Sunday, he'll arguably be in his most familiar on-field road surroundings — both from an opponent and venue standpoint.
While the outcome was not desired, Goff did start last year's Week 15 Thursday Night Football matchup with the Seahawks in Seattle. Combining that with Goff's Week 5 start against the Seahawks this season under head coach Sean McVay, this will now be the quarterback's third start against the NFC West rival. And that experience should help when it comes to playing in the always hostile environment of CenturyLink Field.
"It's loud. Obviously, one of the louder places in the NFL and [we've] got to be ready to handle that," Goff said Wednesday. "A lot of the guys on this team have played up there before. I've played up there before. Sean's coached up there before. So it's not entirely new, but definitely something you've got to handle."
"Well the crowd is very loud especially with the way that the stadium is built," offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said. "Those canopies really bring the volume back down to the field and kind of multiply it which is pretty tough. But it's an awesome environment, there's a bunch of Seahawks fans. I mean, it's pretty much filled to capacity every time. For us to be able to have poise in the noise is going to be extremely important."
In the first matchup between the two teams — a 16-10 Seattle victory — L.A. committed five giveaways. That number was clearly the difference in the matchup, a fact McVay pointed out on Wednesday.
"[T]o their credit we had five turnovers in that last game that we played against them and anytime that you have one-possession game at the end, other than points, there's no greater indicator," McVay said. "We lost the turnover battle five to two and those are things that we can't afford to do."
That's particularly because the weather forecast looks like it may rain on Sunday — something that's fairly expected for this time of year in Seattle. Ball security is always an issue, but it will be in particular with a wet ball.
"[L]ooks like it might be rainy and if it is, those are some of the elements that we need to be ready to handle accordingly," McVay said.
Goff, however, said he isn't particularly worried about the elements, particularly because L.A. defeated the Giants in rainy conditions.
"We played in New York and scored 50 points," he said. "So, we feel real comfortable."
Still, the Seahawks' defense does plenty to make quarterbacks uncomfortable. The club has 32.0 sacks and 10 interceptions so far in 2017. And while cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, and defensive lineman Cliff Avril are all out for the remainder of the season, both Goff and McVay noted Seattle has still been playing quite well.
"The approach is the same because what you do see is a very sound, fundamental group that they play together, they're in unison, they've got a very clear cut philosophy and similar to like what you hear about all these other really great defenses around the league: You earn everything you get," McVay said. "You don't get 'gimmes' around them."
"They just beat Philadelphia — who just beat us — two weeks ago with the same personnel we should be playing," Goff said. "So, no, it doesn't change anything for us. They're a really good team regardless, so we've got to be ready to go."
That's not the only area in which Goff and the Rams aren't changing their approach for Seattle. The quarterback said he doesn't feel like L.A. is feeling. any extra pressure — even though there is plenty at stake on Sunday.
"I think we've got to go into the game with the same mentality we've have which is play loose and be loose and be confident — have faith in each other like we've always had every week," Goff said. "And that's the reason we are where we're at right now with the one-game lead on Seattle. But, we need to just continue to do what we've been doing and we'll be just fine."