Former Cal star Jared Goff got the job done Monday night. His Los Angeles Rams recorded a 24-10 victory over a Chicago Bears team that was 5-1, and the Rams are now 5-2 in the tough NFC West.
But questions continue.
Is Goff consistent enough to get the Rams into the playoffs with the difficult schedule that awaits? Is he good enough to get his team back to the Super Bowl?
His performance over the second half of this season, when the Rams face a series of difficult games, will tell us a lot.
For the moment, Goff remains an enigma.
He showed significant improvement in his second season in the NFL in 2017, and was spectacular through the first half of the 2018 season. Goff was among the frontrunners for league MVP at the midpoint of the 2018 season, and got the Rams to the Super Bowl that season. He seemed on course to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL.
But Goff struggled mightily in the biggest game of his life, losing the Super Bowl to Tom Brady and the Patriots, and he was not as productive last season.
He has been OK, but not great, through the first seven games this season, so we still are not sure if his career is on the trajectory that his 2018 season suggested.
On Monday, Goff was 23-of-33 for 219 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 108.0 passer rating against a Chicago defense that looks like one of the NFL's best. His numbers could have been better if the Rams had not been in clock-eating mode for much of the fourth quarter.
**Goff's first touchdown pass
"I thought we did well," Goff said of the Rams' offense in a postgame video available here. "That defense is tough and we had to do some different things for them and make sure we were on our Q's and T's all night.
"Couple of careless errors by me that we got away with, but that's the game."
The game was more about the Rams' defense and punter Johnny Hekker, but Goff did nothing to jeaopardize the Rams' chances to win.
**Goff's second touchdown pass
He was coming off a tough loss to the 49ers, when he was just 19-for-38 for 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and after Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins (3-3) to complete the first half of the Rams' season, things get a lot tougher for Los Angeles.
Goff currently ranks 11th in the NFL in passer rating, and that statistic seems like a pretty good indicator of a quarterback's value, considering Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes all rank among the top five in that category.
Goff is virtually tied with Tom Brady in passer rating and ahead of Ben Roethlisberger.
But can Goff get it done against the top teams? The win over the Bears was the Rams' first victory this season over a team that currently has a winning record, as the Rams' first four victims have a combined record of 7-20-1.
The second half of their season includes two games against the Seahawks (5-1), two against the Cardinals (5-2), one against the 49ers (4-3) and one against th Buccaneers (5-2). The only remaining opponents with losing records at the moment are the Patriots and the Jets.
Is he as good as he showed in the early stages of the 2018 season, or was that an anamoly? Games against the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers will tell is where he stands relative to other quarterbacks in the NFC West and the NFL in general.
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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