QB Goff, Rams light years ahead of last season with room to grow

The image is unmistakable.

Jared Goff, head down, sitting alone with phone in hand, uniform littered with grass stains, leg spotted with blood.

That was 2016, a miserable (4-12) year in Rams history.

This is 2017, at least for a few more days, and things are very different.

Los Angeles, despite falling to Philadelphia 43-35 on Sunday, is night & day better than last season … even if the final few plays were ‘that looks like the Rams from 2016’ moments.

RECAP: Eagles lose QB Carson Wentz, but take down Rams at crucial NFC battle

When Pharoh Cooper got set to receive a 38-yard punt from Eagles punter Donnie Dones with 6 seconds left in the game, instead of moving the ball up the field and/or trying to get out of bounds, Cooper signaled for a fair catch … with no timeouts remaining.

Goff took over with 1 second left down by one point, only time for a miracle, but instead, disaster ensued.

Goff threw an ill-advised pass to Tavon Austin, who fumbled the catch before the Eagles’ Brandon Graham returned it 16-yards for the final ‘in your face’ score, much the delight of the heavy-Philadelphia crowd.

Not an ideal way to end a game so well played (mostly) by both teams.

And, even with that head-down image of Goff briefly seen in the bowls of the Coliseum, the Rams’ second-year quarterback addressed the defeat like a seasoned pro and was eager to watch film & get back to work.

“I probably just held on to it a little bit too long. Stepped in the pocket there and Chris Long came around and made a great play. Probably get rid of it a little earlier there and one thing that you can learn from for sure,” Goff told reporters.

Rams first-year coach Sean McVay said Goff and his squad will learn from the loss.

“I think every single week provides a great learning opportunity for him every single play. It was a great defense. (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Jim) Schwartz did a good job of changing some things up. We didn’t get enough opportunities. We really only had — I want to say 45 snaps today, so it’s hard. We had really three possessions in the second half when you look at it, the two touchdown drives and then we end up turning it over on the second-down play and then really last deal where it’s kind of the last play.”

Gallery: Eagles too much for Rams

Goff played well overall, passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns while taking two sacks. His connection with WR Cooper Kupp, who started in place of injured Robert Woods, in appartant, no more so than the second quarter.

On 3rd-down and 10, from their own 25, Goff hit Kupp on a short pass which the rookie turned into a 64-yard gain. Four plays later, Kupp was rewarded with a 6-yard touchdown grab.

“We’ll see it on the film. We’ll see it on the film what that looks like. I got a glimpse of it up on the jumbotron. I looked a little slow, I don’t know so we’ll see,” Kupp said.

The Rams sit at 9-4, with a one-game lead in the NFC West over 8-5 Seattle, which happens to be Los Angeles’ opponent on Sunday.