In the NFL, there are losses that you know your team will bounce back from quickly, and then there are losses that make you question the entire state of your franchise. Sunday's 17-12 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers was the latter for the L.A. Rams and their fanbase.
Just nine months ago, we'd already crowned Sean McVay the next great NFL coach, one who turned young quarterback Jared Goff into one of the top passers in the league. After defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship, the Rams were going to dispose of the New England Patriots, end the dynasty, force Tom Brady into retirement and maybe cause Bill Belichick to find another team. It was a fairy tale ending not only for the Rams, but for every NFL fan who had had enough of the Pats.
Then the Rams scored 3 points, losing 13-3 and giving the Pats their sixth Super Bowl. McVay was schooled by Belichick, and the Pats defense made Goff look like Bambi.
Not even a 3-0 start to 2019 could erase that ugly Super Bowl memory, and now that the Rams have gone 2-4 in their last six games, Goff stinking and McVay possibly stinking have become the focus once again. Goff, who the Rams signed to a massive four-year extension in September, went 22-for-41 for 243 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions against the Steelers. McVay, who was everybody's favorite offensive mastermind in 2018, subbed in Blake Bortles for a designed run in a short-yardage situation on Sunday. For those who thought that was because Goff was injured for a play, McVay actually confirmed that it was part of the game plan:
If there's ever been a case of trying to do too much, it's designing run plays for Blake Bortles when you have a supposed franchise quarterback in Goff. Between the Bortles package, the lack of offense overall (the offense only scored 3 of the team's 12 points on Sunday) and the play of Goff, there was a LOT to discuss on Twitter after the Rams fell to 5-4 on Sunday afternoon:
Let's give a little hat tip to Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as NEW JERSEY NATIVE Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had a pick, a fumble return for a TD and four tackles on Sunday. This team was embarrassed by New England on opening night, lost Ben Roethlisberger to injury, fell to 0-3 and were left for dead. They've responded by going 5-1 since, with their only loss coming to the Baltimore Ravens, 26-23. If the season ended today they'd be in the playoffs, and while Mason Rudolph probably doesn't scare anybody, that's still not a team I'd want to face in the first round of the postseason.