Rams rookie QB Goff solid in first career road start

NEW ORLEANS (AP) While Rams rookie Jared Goff couldn't keep up with Drew Brees and the prolific New Orleans Saints, he just might have given Los Angeles hope that its No. 1 overall draft pick will in fact pan out.

There were moments of brilliance as he showed off his touch, strength, and sometimes, guts, while throwing for 214 yards and three touchdowns in his first road start on Sunday. He made some mistakes, too, losing a fumble deep in Rams territory and throwing an interception near midfield. But coach Jeff Fisher sounded as if he was more concerned with his defense than Goff's performance in a 49-21 loss.

''Jared did a really nice job in the first half, especially in the two-minute drive,'' Fisher said. ''I thought he got better, which was encouraging.''

Goff is the latest in a string of heralded rookie QBs making themselves at home in the Superdome in one of their first road starts.

Robert Griffin III in 2012, along with Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota in 2015, all led their teams to wins at New Orleans, completing a combined 70 percent of their passes for nearly 900 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

Goff built on his first career start a week ago at home, a 14-10 loss to Miami in which he was just 55 percent passing with no touchdowns or interceptions.

''I obviously felt a lot more comfortable in my second game, just from experience,'' Goff said. ''Felt better out there - was able to see it a lot better and it began to slow down a little bit for sure about halfway through the first half.''

Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro was impressed with the former California quarterback, who delivered several completions under pressure, releasing the ball accurately moments before absorbing heavy hits.

''He has pretty good arm talent. He's young. You're on the road in a hostile environment, and his book's just starting,'' Vaccaro said. ''Each day, each month, each year is a new chapter for him. He'll keep growing.''

Against the Saints, he spread the ball around, hitting seven different receivers while completing 20 of 32 attempts. The Rams converted both of their red-zone chances with touchdown passes to Kenny Britt and Lance Kendricks.

Goff's first career touchdown pass was a perfect throw to Tavon Austin, who caught the 24-yard scoring strike in stride in the end zone for a 7-0 Rams lead.

Goff led Los Angeles on an eight-play, 79-yard drive at the end of the second quarter that ended with the touchdown pass to Kendricks and cut New Orleans' lead to 28-21.

''He made some really good throws in the two-minute drive off his back foot and put the ball in the end zone,'' Fisher said.

Added running back Todd Gurley: ''He definitely felt a lot more comfortable this game than last game - came out spinning it that first half.''

He also, however, showed an inability to get rid of the ball when the pocket was collapsing on him. He was sacked three times and was hit a total of eight times when dropping back to pass.

That might be what Goff focuses on this week as he prepares for the New England Patriots and his third start.

''I don't want to be out here saying I'm happy with what we did or what I did or anything in between because I'm really not if we don't win,'' Goff said. ''And that's the bottom line.''

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For more NFL coverage: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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