Under the Microscope: 15 Throws That Defined Jared Goff’s 2018 Season

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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After a horrific 2016 season, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff came out blazing in 2017 with new head coach Sean Mcvay. Goff threw for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns on his way to leading the Rams to a division title and playoff appearance.

Despite an incredible season, media analysts and critics alike claimed Goff to be a system quarterback. After all, under Jeff Fisher, Goff had struggled mightily and looked lost while it was McVay and his system that turned Goff around. However, it wasn’t just Goff that improved without Fisher. Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl while Case Keenum had a career year with the Minnesota Vikings – both did so with great offensive coaches Doug Pederson (head coach) and Pat Shurmur (offensive coordinator).

Goff turned it around as well without Fisher, but it was only the Rams quarterback who earned the label “system quarterback.”

The offseason is a great time to look back at a player’s season. While we live in a ‘quick to judge’ society, leaving some time to reflect after the season allows you to hit the film with a clear mind. This allows us to take a step back and look at the season as a whole rather than from a week-to-week basis.

This will be the first part of my “under the microscope” series. Over the next few weeks I will take a look at Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Garoppolo. I include Wentz and Prescott because they will always be linked to Goff because of the 2016 draft. Wilson and Garoppolo will be worth watching because not only are they great passers, but they are in the division.

Today we start with Goff.

12 Great Snaps From Jared Goff’s 2018 Season

Week 2, vs. Arizona Cardinals – 1Q – 0:46 -1st-and-10

This is just a great play by Goff. You would like to see him step up into the pocket here, but he still manages to throw the ball over the linebacker while fading away and getting hit to get the ball to Woods. A trend you will see is that several of these big throws come on first down. That’s the case here.

Week 3, vs. Los Angeles Chargers – 2Q – 1:40 -1st-and-10

Another pass on first down, but this might be my favorite Jared Goff pass of the entire season. He gets good protection from the offensive line, but the difficulty level of the throw that he decides to go with is off the charts. He not only goes with the 20-yard out, which is already difficult enough as it is, but he goes with the 20-yard out to a covered Robert Woods. And it’s not only that he goes the 20-yard out to a covered Woods, but he throws the ball over the cornerback and underneath the safety. The Chargers are playing zone therefore the cornerback is responsible for everything underneath. He passes Woods off to the safety, leaving just enough room for Goff to throw it over his reach and hit Woods extended on the sideline. System quarterback?

Week 3, vs. Los Angeles Chargers – 3Q – 12:50 – 3rd-and-8

This is overall just a fantastic play from Jared Goff, and even though he threw some good balls against the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals, this might be his first big-time throw of the season. The pocket collapses, but Goff stands tall and evades the pressure. He doesn’t panic as you can see his eyes remain down field – which is good because he finds an open Cooper Kupp streaking down the side line and hits him for a touchdown.

Goff is not balanced in the slightest because of the pressure. Most quarterbacks would take a sack here, but Goff makes a fantastic play with his arm to get Cooper Kupp the ball on a third and long.

Week 4, vs. Minnesota Vikings – 2Q – 3:57 – 1st-and-10

We’ll get a play eerily similar to this later on, however, for now, we’ll just say this is an incredible throw during what might have been Goff’s best game of the season. Play action sets up a lot of what the Rams do, but it has nothing to do with how Goff threw this ball. Here, you get Goff fading away from pressure and yet he throws a perfectly placed pass over two Viking defenders in the corner of the end zone where the margins for error are already small. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Week 8, vs. Green Bay Packers – 2Q – 2:20 – 1st-and-10

Jared Goff went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. At this point in the game the Rams were trailing and looking to get some momentum before halftime. Goff does this! Rodger Saffold allows his man to get through, but the Rams quarterback side-steps to his left to avoid the pressure and buy himself enough time to throw a bullseye on the left sideline to an absolutely smothered Brandin Cooks.

Week 10, vs. Seattle Seahawks – 4Q – 14:56 – 2nd-and-1

At times, Jared Goff’s accuracy is unmatched. He showcases that here. It doesn’t seem like a difficult throw, but this could easily be a pick-six if it’s throw inside or even first-and-goal. Instead, it’s a touchdown because Goff hits Tyler Higbee on the back-shoulder. The Rams trailed late in this game and took the lead with this score.

Week 11, vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 4Q – 1:54 – 1st-and-10

The game of the year capped off by a legendary throw. Big players make big plays in the big time moments. Down four late in the fourth quarter, Goff does exactly that. His offensive line gives him a nice pocket, but Goff knew where he was going with this before the snap. He gets the matchup he wants with Gerald Everett on Daniel Sorenson. Goff leads Everett perfectly down the sideline so that he is able to catch the ball in stride and score.

Week 15, vs. Philadelphia Eagles – 4Q – 14:04 – 1st-and-10

This just shows off Goff’s character. At this point the Rams are down 30-13, but the Rams don’t quit. Off of play action, Goff completes the pass between the cornerback and the safety, playing basic Cover 2. The Rams lost this game, but they sure as hell didn’t give up.

Week 16, at Arizona Cardinals – 4Q – 9:28 – 1st-and-10

This is the seventh play that has come on 1st-and-10 in this series. This play looks familiar too, doesn’t it? Similar to the play against the Vikings, we get Goff fading away from pressure off of play action. He throws a laser to Woods and leads him so that he is able to turn up the sideline and score.

Divisional Playoffs, vs. Dallas Cowboys – 3Q – 13:33 – 3rd-and-4

The Rams were a prime upset pick prior to the playoffs and Goff said no to that. Early in the second half, he completes a big pass on third down that puts the Rams in field goal position. He stands tall in the pocket and hits Brandin Cooks between not one, not two, but three Cowboys defenders.

NFC Championship, at New Orleans – 2Q – 0:48 – 1st-and-10

When it comes to the NFC Championship game, the next throw I showcase is the one that gets brought up, but  this might be the play of the game. Trailing, 13-3, late in the first half, the Rams were driving, hoping to just get a field goal and come within one score. Instead, Goff drops the ball into Cooks’ basket as he’s covered by two Saints defenders. Goff couldn’t have placed this any better if he handed the ball to Cooks. The Rams scored a touchdown and came within three points of the Saints before halftime.

NFC Championship, at New Orleans – OT – 12:37 – 2nd-and-13

This play will go down as one of the best in Los Angeles Rams history. How Goff got this off and somehow completes a pass to Higbee, is incredible. With most quarterbacks, this is a sack setting up a third and long. With Goff it puts the Rams in field goal range for Greg Zuerlein that sends the Rams to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl, vs. New England Patriots – 2Q – 9:48 – 2nd-and-5

Goff’s Super Bowl was far from perfect. It will go down as one of the worst performances from a quarterback in Super Bowl history. However, Goff does complete another nice pass here. Off of play action, the Rams quarterback makes a big-time throw to a covered Robert Woods on the sideline. If this ball is thrown even a sliver more outside, it’s an incomplete pass.

3 Not So Great Snaps From Jared Goff’s 2018 Season

Week 13, at Detroit Lions – 3Q – 10:04 – 1st-and-10

Jared Goff season took a turn in Week 13 against the Detroit Lions. He almost threw two pick-sixes back-to-back, starting here. When you can make Goff sit back and think, he tends to try to force the issue. That’s the case here. The screen isn’t there and Goff forces it anyway. It almost costs the Rams in a game that they were leading, 16-13.

Week 14, at Chicago Bears – 3Q – 3:56 – 1st-and-10

The Bears game is probably Goff’s worst game of the season, but the Bears did exactly what they needed to do to force Goff into these errors. Similar to the Greatest Show on Turf or any great offense, if you take away the large chunks, you can frustrate the quarterback. That’s exactly what happened. McVay adjusted and always gave Goff something underneath. In this play, you’ll see that Goff does have Woods and Higbee on the far sideline. The Bears got to Goff with pressure and making him uncomfortable. Instead of just taking what was there, Goff, stares down Reynolds and throws an interception.

Super Bowl, vs. New England Patriots – 3Q – 3:41 – 1st-and-10

Similar to the Bears, the Patriots rattled Goff. In NFL’s “Mic’d Up”, you’ll hear McVay say, “This is the Bears.” However, while Goff simply was outmatched against Chicago, he missed throws against the Patriots. He needs to be able to see Cooks streaking down the seam by himself. If Goff hits him, it’s a touchdown and a much different ball game. Credit Patrick Chung for breaking up the pass out of Cooks’ hands, but Goff needs to make this throw.

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