The Los Angeles Rams (4-6) fell to defeat for the fifth time in six games, blowing a ten point lead in the fourth quarter and losing to the Miami Dolphins 14-10. On a dreary and rainy day at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Rams sent their faithful fans home feeling much that same way on this most disappointing of Sunday afternoon’s at the venerable old stadium. Here are three main takeaways from today’s National Football League game between the squad’s from Southern California and Southern Florida.
Los Angeles Rams Week 11 Takeaways
The Rams Inaugural Season Back in Los Angeles Has Been Maddeningly Disappointing
After an epic collapse such as what occurred in the fourth quarter in LA today, it is time to call a spade a spade and declare this 2016 regular season of NFL football as a complete dud, at least from a Rams perspective. This is not meant to take away the great passion of renewal and the overall warm fuzzy feeling that Angelinos have about getting NFL football back in their own backyard. Time marches on and 2017 is on the horizon, believe it or not. The Rams are back to stay in Southern California and one disheartening loss, such as today, will not change that.
However, this defeat, and the way it occurred is sure to put a dagger into this most frustrating of season’s for the boys in blue and gold. Head coach Jeff Fisher is not the only one to blame, but he is at the front of the line in putting on the goat horn’s for this mess that has been made. And it is not just today. Fans and media members alike have run out of adjectives to summarize the general ineptitude of this offense that tries to portray itself as professional.
Nobody, save for rookie starting quarterback Jared Goff, gets a free pass from the criticism that needs to be rained down upon each and every member of that unit. How many games does running back Todd Gurley deserve before the team looks elsewhere in the off-season for reinforcements to back him up or ultimately, replace him? And backup quarterback Case Keenum finally looked the part of a player fitting in where he belongs today, and that’s because he was on the bench for the first time this season.
The Defense Can Play 45 Minutes
As we have seen most of the season, the Rams defense has shown up and played in true gladiator fashion almost all year long. That was the case again today as the unit turned up the heat on the Dolphins, smothering starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his talented crew, shutting them out through the first three quarters of gridiron action.
The Rams defense came into today’s action ranked ninth in overall team defensive statistics and they played above that level through 45 minutes at the Coliseum. After kicker Greg Zuerlein‘s field goal attempt hit the upright, missing a chance to put the home squad up by 13 early in the fourth, it was like watching a house that was about to get blitzkrieged by a tornado. And to no one’s surprise, it happened.
Tannehill found his range and put together two beautiful touchdown drives, slamming the proverbial football right down the throats of the Rams bread and butter, their front four. It has been a long season with a lot of on-the-field playing time for the likes of Aaron Donald, Alec Ogletree and the rest of this talented crew but therein lies the problem. Too much time playing defense with not enough help from the offense and things like this happen.
It just makes one wonder how solid this crew could really be if they had more time to rest and could just pin back their ears and play the attacking game they love to play so much. Again, we might have to wait until next season to find out many of these answers. Certainly today, 45 minutes was not enough to get the win. It usually is not enough, most definitely when it comes to Rams football.
Jared Goff Is the Future But The Future is Hazy
The 22-year-old University of California star was what you’d expect him to be in his first career start in the National Football League. Goff was not awful and he was not great. He is most assuredly a work in progress.
His final statistics on the day are not those of legends but 17 of 31 for 134 yards with no interceptions was to be expected. The playbook was kept very safe and secure for the young first overall draft, and that is probably a good thing for his debut with the big boys of pro football. He did make some nice reads and his mobility got him out of trouble on more than one occasion.
The bottom line is Goff is very unpolished and unproven at this level. What he will become is still anybody’s guess. That being said, Fisher finally made the bold and correct decision in putting Goff into start today’s game, win or lose. These next six games on the Rams schedule should be used as an opportunity to see what kind of talent and fortitude Goff can show the team and the fan base.
It is no longer about wins and losses and maybe it should never have been about that all season long. This is not a playoff team. Only the believers in Santa Claus could have been that delusional.