ATLANTA — The Rams enter Super Bowl LIII with 15 wins that have come in all shapes and sizes. In the win-is-a-win National Football League, head coach Sean McVay has opened a few of his postgame press conferences in his second season leading the Rams with that exact mindset.
Week 6 in Denver, McVay said his team "found a way to win," before commending the defense and admitting to putting his offense in bad spots in the "gutsy" 23-20 win against the Broncos, despite a huge day from running back Todd Gurley on the ground.
Check out photos from practice as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
Then in Week 13 coming off the bye, McVay spoke sort of subdued after clinching the NFC West on the road, saying that fortunately the three phases were able to "pick each other up" and admitting the Lions' defense was ready for his group.
But the Rams found a way to win each game, along with a handful of other less-than-impressive showings from an offense that had buzzed through the majority of the season's first half. That's including the NFC Championship game in New Orleans — where the offense dug itself from a slow start and 13-point hole.
"Those grind-it-out games, that's what you expect, this league is hard — to win games, move the ball, and score points," wide receiver Brandin Cooks said, just three days before facing the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. "So that's what you more so expect throughout the year, but when you have those high-flying ones — they feel great don't get me wrong — but we can't get caught up thinking that's how it's always going to be."
But if that is how it will be on Sunday, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots defense could be up against some serious offense. The Rams put up fewer than 400 yards of total offense and scored fewer than 30 points just twice in the season's first 11 games.
And If there's anyone that knows the ups and downs of L.A.'s point-scoring phase, it's quarterback Jared Goff. At his best, Goff set a new career high in single-game passing yards (465) and touchdowns (5) against the Vikings in Week 4. Then in Week 11, Goff out-dueled Chiefs quarterback and MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes, throwing four touchdowns with no picks, and running for one more score.
The young quarterback's lows showed up in losses in Chicago and against the Eagles, but then there were wins thanks to complimentary football in Goff's rougher outings like Detroit or Denver. The signal caller and his cast of playmakers also demonstrated the ability to bounce back from a slow start in comebacks like his near 300-yard game, and accurate second half to roar back and beat the Saints to get to the Super Bowl.
Now in Atlanta, Goff told reporters on Thursday that he feels like he's done a "decent job" with a smile, reflecting on his third professional season. As for the variety of outings from his offense and it's almost hard-to-pin-down greatest strength, the quarterback shrugged his shoulders.
"I think every football game is different, in some games you're firing on all cylinders and some games you're not," Goff said.
No. 16 and his Rams will get the Patriots after the now-Super Bowl regulars took care of the league's No. 1 offense in the AFC Championship game, which featured a scoreless first half from the Chiefs.
So what if it is a "grind-it-out" kind of night in Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Lombardi on the line?
"In the games that you're not, you just have to fight through that and get through it and trust in yourself, trust in your training, and trust in each other," Goff said.
A win's a win — especially in the Super Bowl.