Jared Goff accomplished plenty in 2017.
The second-year quarterback threw for 3,804 yards with 28 touchdowns to seven interceptions — leading L.A. to an 11-4 record in games he started. Goff led the league at 12.9 yards per completion and finished No. 5 with a 100.5 passer rating.
And even though Goff was clearly disappointed to be cleaning out his locker on Sunday morning rather than preparing to play another playoff game, the signal-caller was able to see many of the positives that came out of the 2017 season.
"It was a really fun year," Goff said. "We were able to do a lot of good things in every facet of the game, every side of the ball — offense, defense, special teams. And I thought we grew a lot, us being a young team and being as young as we are. But we are a mature team. So we great a lot in a lot of different ways, and feel good."
Goff exhibited a tremendous amount of growth in his first year under head coach Sean McVay. Stable pass protection had a lot to do with that, as Goff was sacked just 25 times in 2017 after being sacked 26 times in just seven games his rookie year. And so did a full compliment of offensive weapons, including MVP candidate Todd Gurley.
But even before playing with Goff and developing a strong connection, wide receiver Robert Woods said he had a favorable impression of the quarterback.
"His mental toughness, how he stands in the pocket — that was one thing I saw before coming here," Woods said. "He took some shots early. But he always stood in the pocket and trusted his receivers to get open. The line's been protecting him really well and he's able to stand tall and deliver it."
And that's part of why Woods, like many of the Rams players, say they recognized a lot of development in Goff this season. And feel he has plenty of room to improve in the future.
"He's 23. It was really like his first year playing, first year getting experience, first year of the game," Woods said. "And the way he competed at this level, I think, is just the start. He has to keep studying and keep it going. But it's only going to get him better. For him to start off like that, with McVay and this new offense, and deliver as he did I think it's just a great start for his future."
"There's always room for more improvement in anybody's game," Gurley said. "It's only his second year, so, yeah, there's definitely a lot of improvement. We have to get better around him to help him improve, as well."
The Rams' youth is another element of what makes the team exciting going forward. Goff will have an opportunity to grow alongside many of the club's young skill players as they all work to improve for 2018.
"I can't wait," wide receiver Cooper Kupp said of the prospect. "I mean, to be able to have an offseason together, to be able to grow and just continue to get reps and go through film together and just get that time just being able to build that relationship, I think, will be good."
"Got a good group of guys — really, really strong group. And a really good defense — we've got some guys that'll be here for a long time and some really good players, and same with offense," Goff said. "So it's hopefully just the beginning for this group, and a lot of good things to look forward to."
Goff's 2017 was by no means perfect. And the quarterback said he's looking to improve all aspects of his game headed into next year in order to become a better player, leader, and teammate. But on the whole, there's no doubt the QB took a significant step forward this season.
"He'll be able to look at himself critically, learn from some of the mistakes. He did a lot of good things, too," McVay said Sunday. "And I think it allows him to go into the offseason program with a lot of confidence, a lot of things that we'll be able to pick out specifically what we feel like are going to be the key focal points, and points of emphasis for him.
"But in terms of leading, just playing the position, the command overall, I'm very pleased with Jared," McVay added. "And I thought he had a good year."
"We're going to work hard this offseason," Goff said. "We've got a good core nucleus of guys, and a really driven group, and I don't expect this to be the end for us by any means."
Check out in-game photos from the Rams' Wild Card matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at the Coliseum.