In 2016, Jared Goff had one of the worst seasons a rookie quarterback has ever put on record. Goff compiled an 0-7 record as a starter, completed only 54.6 percent of his passes, averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt, and threw only five touchdowns against seven interceptions.
Among the 47 quarterbacks since the league expanded to 32 teams back in 2002 that have thrown at least 200 passes during their rookie campaigns, Goff ranked 29th in completion percentage, 44th in yards per attempt, 41st in touchdown rate, 29th in interception rate, and 37th in passer rating. And because he took so many sacks, his adjusted net yards per attempt average (a yards per attempt figure that factors in touchdowns, picks, and yards lost to sacks) ranked 46th.
Goff wasn't especially bad in his one start against the division rival Seattle Seahawks, completing 13 of 25 passes for 135 yards and taking four sacks, but he wasn't exactly good, either. (The Seahawks also knocked him out of the game, with Richard Sherman delivering a big hit that resulted in a concussion for Goff.)
Nearly a year later, Goff faced the Seahawks for the second time. He threw the ball nearly twice as many times, but his numbers did not exactly improve: he completed 22 of 47 passes for 288 yards, did not throw a touchdown, and was intercepted twice.
Still, the Seahawks came away from the game much more impressed with his skills than they were last season. Specifically, Earl Thomas felt Goff made a ton of progress from where he was late last season.
"Hats off to Goff, he's way better than last year. He even looked me off a few times"— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) October 9, 2017
Earl Thomas to Deion post game
Thomas picked off one of Goff's passes midway through the fourth quarter:
But he also got caught looking the wrong way on a potential game-winning touchdown throw late in the fourth quarter. The ball bounced off Cooper Kupp's hands and the Seahawks snuck away with a win. "That play, he looked me off," Thomas said, per the Orange County Register. "I was trying to bait him. I thought he saw a matchup he liked. Instead he looked me off, in a pressure situation. And I got lucky there."
The Rams didn't quite rack up points against Seattle as they'd been doing during the first four weeks of the season, but any time you draw the respect of the game's best safety, you're probably moving in the right direction.