The Los Angeles Rams managed to win an ugly, borderline unwatchable football game with the Bears at home Sunday night, which seemed for long stretches like an affront to modern offensive philosophies.

Jared Goff traded failed series with a fellow recent top-three pick Mitchell Trubisky, and though the victory kept alive L.A.'s hopes of securing a playoff berth, it also served as a stark reminder that, right now, Goff more closely resembles a marginally functional quarterback, like the one in Chicago, than he does the true superstar passers in this game with whom his future compensation is now aligned. Make no mistake, I'm not saying that Goff is Trubisky, but now three-quarters into this season it is fair to wonder how much of a sunk cost he may become for a franchise that might not actually have the Super Bowl window they believe is open to them in years to come.

Regardless of where one believes Goff currently stands among the pantheon of quarterbacks, a few things are beyond debate. He does not resemble, in any way shape or form, the effective, efficient and productive QB he was in his first two years under head coach Sean McVay. He has regressed, across the board – through factors both of his control and many far outside of it – by virtually any objective scouting or analytical measure from the guy who helped this team reach the Super Bowl 10 months ago.

It has to give you pause if you are a Rams fan, especially with Goff still on his rookie deal and an extension with him by no means mandatory before the season, though he got a record deal, anyway. And, coupled with the fact the offensive line is now in need of rebuild (left tackle and center, in particular), this team is long in the tooth at critical roster spots and wide receiver health is a problem, the Rams still have needs at pass rusher and in the secondary, the health/workload of former All Pro running back Todd Gurley is a weekly issue, and they are devoid of first-round picks for years to come via the Jalen Ramsey trade, one wonders if 2019, as difficult as it has been, will prove to be the last best chance for this franchise to grab a Lombardi Trophy for a while. Yes, all while the quarterback is struggling.

Fact is, the NFC West looks like it is going to be a highly competitive and deep division for years to come with Seattle (Russell Wilson), San Francisco (Jimmy G) and Arizona (Kyler Murray) either already playoff-ready or at least improving. And, the fact is, that in 2019 Jared Goff carries the 111th highest cap hit in the NFL (per Spotrac), but that jumps to highest in the entire NFL in 2020 ($36M), and then fourth in 2021 ($32.5M, behind only Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers) and then fifth in 2022 ($30.5M, behind only Wilson, Rodgers, Ryan and Wentz). Bottom line – Goff had best be performing as if he belongs grouped with those quarterbacks on the field, as well, or the Rams could have big problems afoot.

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Before we dissect Goff's 2019 campaign, let's deal with all the disclaimers. Many evaluators always saw him as, at best, a fluid facilitator of McVay's scheme, a talented point guard of sorts but not a game-changer. Give him a top five-ish offensive line and a truly elite running back and speedy and dependable receivers, and you can have a high-octane offense. But that is no longer the case, and he is no longer being compensated like a game-manager.

The paradigm has shifted, with Gurley declining and the protection sagging and Cooper Kupp not the same in his first year back from knee surgery and Brandin Cooks dealing with concussions and the defense providing fewer explosive plays and Aaron Donald not putting up Reggie White numbers. Goff is now, far and away, their highest paid player, and he might not have the greatest cast around him the next few years. He may have to be The Man. And that might not be who he is.

On the season, he is the 27th ranked passer in the NFL, 225-for-373 (60.3%) for 2,783 yards (7.46 per attempt) with 11 TDs and 10 INTs and an 82.1 rating. It's nowhere close to a year ago, when he was the 8th rated passer in the NFL (101.1), completing 65% of his passes for nearly 4,700 yards (8.36 per attempt) with 32 TDs and 12 INTs.

In past years under McVay, the Rams were unpredictable on early downs. Gurley was perfect, the best weapon in football, a game-breaker in the run and pass attack. They could take deep shots on first down if the box was stacked. No longer, and Goff was been the worst regular starter in the NFL on first down, creating even bigger problems for a struggling offense overall. A year ago he ranked 5th in the entire league in first-down passing; not he ranks 42nd among all QBs with at least 10 passing attempts. He ranks slightly behind Mason Rudolph and just ahead of Josh Rosen

Here's how Goff's 2019 season compares to last season on first down:

CompletionsYardsTD-INTPasser rating


115/232 (67%)

2,169 (9.35 per attempt)




81/143 (57%)

990 (6.92 per attempt)



In the past, the Rams have had a devastating play action game. With Goff under center and Gurley a mismatch and a diversity of personnel, linebackers would be frozen or confused. Goff produced 400 yards more than any other QB when passing under center and ranked 9th overall in those situations. In the age of shotgun-heavy attacks, he was a force under center. This year he ranks 36th among all QBs with at least 10 attempts when passing under center.

Here's a look at Goff when he's not in the shotgun:

CompletionsYardsTD-INTPasser rating


130/209 (62%)

2,079 (9.9 per attempt)




67/116 (58%)

930 (8.0 per attempt)



With the offense constricting, and Goff forced into more challenging yards-to-go on third down, his success is declining there, too. He ranks 24th on third down, tucked between Gardner Minshew and Kyler Murray. Teams can sense the wavering confidence in all aspects of the offense and don't have to be fearful about sending additional pass rushers to try to derail a drive (he is throwing over two more passes per game against the blitz this season). Goff ranked 13th against the blitz a year ago; he has dropped to 35th this year.

Let's take a look at Goff's stats against the blitz:

CompletionsYardsTD-INTPasser rating


85/141 (60%)

1,245 (8.8 per attempt)




59/110 (54%)

774 (7.0 per attempt)



All of this, in its totality, paints a scary portrait. Given the personnel issues now looming, it's fair to assume that the 2017-18 Rams roster will look far deeper and better than what is to come the next few years. McVay has a unique eye and superior skills. He had to rebuild Goff from the ground up after inheriting a shattered young QB from the mismanagement under Jeff Fisher's tenure.

He may have to do something akin to that again. Only the stakes are so much higher now, and the ability to buy talent around him is limited by the Rams' challenging cap realities and the quarterback set to be the single most cap-exhaustive entity in the entire NFL come 2020. The next six weeks may be as good as it is going to get for a while. Goff and the Rams offense has to be better.