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Goff Catches a Break

December 29th, 2020 · No Comments · Football, Los Angeles Rams, NFL

If ever the timing of an NFL injury could seem propitious, Jared Goff and his broken right thumb would be in the discussion.

Until he sustained the injury, late in a 20-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the leading post-game topics were going to be about the Rams quarterback, who had another lousy performance, and what Rams coach Sean McVay might do about it.

Yesterday, however, we learned from the Rams that Goff had surgery on his wounded thumb and would not play in the final regular-season game — but could be available for a wild-card playoffs game the following weekend.

Suddenly, we like Jared Goff a whole lot more than we did in the latter stages of that meltdown (on the offensive side of the ball), in Seattle.

Why does that make such a difference?

Because the Rams, 9-6, still have a chance at a playoffs berth, even with an untested quarterback (probably John Wolford, who has never taken a snap in an NFL game), “leading” the team in a Sunday home game versus Arizona.

The Cardinals, 8-7, are struggling themselves, having lost at home to the 49ers over the weekend. But Arizona’s starting quarterback, Kyler Murray, is expected to play, conferring a huge advantage over the Rams and their rookie.

But wait: The Rams have yet another path into the playoffs, in part because the NFC doesn’t have many good teams.

And that path has the Green Bay Packers (12-3) playing the Bears (8-7) in Chicago on Sunday. If the Bears lose, they are out of the playoffs and the Rams are in — no matter how badly the Rams lose to the Cardinals.

The point being that if there is a fairly decent chance they could be participating in the NFC playoffs, the following weekend … well, heck yeah, the team and its fans would take Goff back in a heartbeat.

Even as Goff struggles, the options for the game against the Cardinals are poor.

Wolford has never taken an NFL snap. Zero. None. And the Rams have not played a game with anyone but Goff at quarterback, going back to Game 16 in 1917, when Sean Mannion took over as QB when McVay sat out most of his top players so they could be healthy for the playoffs. (The Rams lost Game 16 to San Francisco, 34-13, then fell 26-13 to Atlanta in the wild-card round.)

Since then, it’s been all Goff all the time. Since the dawn of the McVay Era, Goff has started all but the one 2017 game — all but one of the past 66 Rams games, that is, including the playoffs.

If he gets another game this season, thanks to a Wolford-led upset of Arizona (or the far more likely result of the Packers beating the Bears), Rams fans would be pleased as punch to see Goff back on the field. He has stunk it up the past two weeks? Well, sure, but given the option, fans and the team certainly would prefer Goff to play. Their options are pretty limited. It’s Wolford or some newly signed veteran who doesn’t know the offense.

Goff would get a “get out of jail” pass in a Rams playoffs game, if it happens, because he would be playing despite the thumb on his throwing hand having some screws in it.

Instead of him being remembered as the main reason why the Rams didn’t make the playoffs in 2020 … which is where he was Sunday night … he would be recalled for selflessly fighting through an injury to give the Rams a chance to advance in the playoffs.

That beats “the bum who lost to the Jets” any day.


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