Back in Week 5, L.A. prepared for a Seattle team that was 2-2 after the first four weeks of the season. The Rams were coming off a home 38-31 victory over the Vikings on Thursday Night Football — a career night for quarterback Jared Goff who completed 78.9 percent of his passes for 465 yards with five touchdowns.
Los Angeles then defeated the Seahawks 33-31 in what was the first of three consecutive road games. And Goff completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 321 yards in the victory. But that game was not easy, with Los Angeles having to overcome a pair of giveaways to win — although just one was truly consequential.
That contest was the only one this year where Goff has thrown multiple interceptions. The first came after L.A. had tremendous field position after a takeaway, but a pass to Gurley at the goal line was tipped and landed in the hands of defensive end Frank Clark. And the second was on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
Nevertheless, the Rams were able to adjust and get the victory. Now that they’ll play the Seahawks for the second time in just over a month, the Rams see various positives and drawbacks for the process of preparation.
“Yes and no. I think when we played them last game they did some stuff that they hadn't really shown on film much,” Goff said on Wednesday. “So, this game may be the same, may be different. We don't know yet. We'll go off of what we've seen so far, but they could very well mix it up like they did last time. We'll have to see on Sunday.”
“I think whether you like it or not, it's just something that you have to adjust and adapt to,” head coach Sean McVay said. “There are some things that just based on the amount of film that you have to study, is not as much because usually you're accustomed to having a bigger break in between when you play division opponents. But, these are things that they're adjusting to as well and we've got to do a great job with it.”
From Seattle’s standpoint, head coach Pete Carroll said during a conference call with L.A. media that the most impressive thing about Goff in 2018 has been the quarterback’s consistency. Goff is currently No. 2 with 2,816 yards passing — behind only Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, who has 2,901.
“He hasn't gone up and down with his performances. I think he's been hot from the start and he continues to be. Those are my comments about him today — he’s still hot, he’s on it,” Carroll said. “They continue to really have a really good ability to execute their offense at a high level. Their play-[action]-pass game and drop-back game is really firing and he's the centerpiece of it all. He's doing a great job.”
But it’s more than his arm. Goff has also had a bit of a chance to show off his “wheels” lately — like last week when he faked a handoff to the right, then booted to his left and with nobody open ran nine yards.
Yes, nine yards — not 10 for a first down. And that’s something McVay doesn’t seem to be letting him forget.
“Are you talking about when he ran for nine and should've got the first down?” McVay joked when asked about it on Wednesday. “No, I gave him a tough time on that one, but we got the first down on the next play.”
“No, he's right — I do,” Goff said himself about his head coach’s ribbing. “I was really trying to avoid a hit, but probably could've got a couple more yards there.”
Plays like that aren’t necessarily designed for Goff to run as a first read, but if the receivers are covered, Goff is certainly empowered to run.
“That's part of the option,” McVay said. “Any time that you change the launch point, you try to get all your eligibles. Usually you're only able to get four eligibles out in that route concept because the back is faking hard run action away. So, really, he ends up becoming the fifth with his legs.”
“Yeah, I'm getting really fast recently. So, I've been trying to really show off my legs a little bit,” Goff said with a laugh. “That play was one of those where it's a designed pass, but if there's room out in front I can tuck it down and run and that's happened a couple times in the last few weeks. I don't feel like I'm going to break any records, but can pick up some yards when I need to.”
With the quarterback making plays all over, there’s plenty of reason to believe that L.A. has a good chance to bounce back well after its first loss against Seattle on Sunday. And though there’s plenty of familiarity between the two division rivals, Goff said it doesn’t make much of a difference what color will line up opposite the royal blue and yellow on Sunday.
“I think every game is the same. Getting through that loss and then moving on, happened pretty quickly. So, I don't think we're still dwelling on that by any means,” Goff said. “It's a big division game for us. Every division game is important, but no different than any other game. We're going to come in and approach it the same way and try to put our best foot forward the whole week and get ready for Sunday.”