• No more 7–9 bullsh** for these Rams—Sean McVay has turned Los Angeles into a good team that’s fun to watch.
By Ben Baskin
October 01, 2017

Three thoughts from the Rams’ 35–30 win against the Cowboys.

1. Don’t look now, but the Rams are good. Not just oh, it’s fun that the Rams aren’t terrible anymore goodMore like, oh, the Rams might actually win the NFC West goodJust give Sean McVay the Coach of the Year award right now—he’s not only made the Rams (who, let’s remember, were an atrocious football team last year) good, but also incredibly fun to watch.

But, the team’s early success isn’t just McVay. Players win games in the NFL, so let’s give Jared Goff the credit he deserves. After the worst rookie season in NFL history, Goff is currently near the top of the leaderboard in every important statistical category for quarterbacks. Not only that, his game is aggressive and loose, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence. For a young QB coming off a disastrous year, that’s impressive. Sorry, Jeff Fisher: it may be a year too late, but there is no 7–9 bullsh** on this team anymore.

2. Todd Gurley is officially back. This has been clear since the beginning of the season, but four weeks in I feel confident declaring it now. Last year, I was a little worried that Gurley’s dominant rookie season was maybe a bit of a fluke. But now it’s clear that the Rams cannot be judged by any of their sins of 2016, when the offense wasn’t running any discernible system. This year Gurley is back to being an absolute force, and he’s one of the more enjoyable backs to watch run this decade. Even more importantly, though, for the Rams’ sake is that Gurley has become a veritable weapon in the passing game, which is a terror for opposing defenses to face. He already had seven touchdowns on the year, a Rams’ record, besting Marshall Faulk’s historic 2000 season. The NFL is more fun when Todd Gurley is good.

3. The Cowboys shouldn’t be panicking, but the team’s deficiencies from last season have lingered. In 2016, Dallas was second in the NFL in “big plays,” but this perceived strength was only because of their dominant rushing game. Their “big play” rank for passing (passes over 25 yards) was sixth worst in the NFL—and that seems to be the same this season.

Dak Prescott needs to do a better job of getting Dez Bryant involved in the offense on a consistent basis. He’s the most under-utilized star receiver in the league. In the first half, the offense looked great—the rushing game was strong, Ezekiel Elliott had two touchdowns (one in the air, one on the ground), Prescott was efficient and Dallas didn't punt once. But in the second, things stagnated; the team struggled when Prescott had to stretch it out and pass more. If the Cowboys want to win the NFC—and let’s be clear, the opportunity will be there—they’ll need to balance the offense. 

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)