*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Not much of a story to tell here. 33-0 Rams. The Cardinals were never really ‘in it’. Arizona’s defense put up a good fight for a bit but the Cardinals’ offense on a constant three-and-out is soul crushing and you can see it in all the Cardinals’ player’s body language.
Just like Sam Darnold breathed life into the Jets, initially…a spark of ‘hope’, and just like Baker Mayfield getting an entire city, and his teammates, buzzing in a second-half comeback on TNF Week 3 – Josh Rosen will provide that temporary (maybe sustained) spark for the Cardinals, as soon as these obstinate, old-school head coaches get over themselves and just give into the rookie QB. Mayfield didn’t need to wait 2.5 games to debut and be better than Tyrod Taylor ever was at any point in his career, and Rosen doesn’t need to sit either when watching Sam Bradford ruin this team.
Arizona is going to get better, but this game was an embarrassment just like their Week 1 dud.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Let me just throw gasoline on a fire that no one will believe me on, not in the mainstream… Jared Goff (24-32 for 354 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) is the future of the Rams, the MOST VALUABLE player they have, the reason they are going to win 12+ games, go deep into the playoffs – he’s the one the team is going to build/is built around, not Todd Gurley. Why? Because Jared Goff is one of the five best QBs in the NFL, right here, right now.
Everyone else says, ‘Game Manager.” Everyone is so wildly wrong it’s mindboggling, but I thank God that they are. I’d be afraid if any of them could see it. Goff is not just ‘good’/’better than they think’ – he’s one of the greats in development, and he’s developing quickly.
This game was a masterpiece. He makes this look too simple. He’s the closest thing to a ‘next Tom Brady’ there is on this planet. 2017 was just a sign of things to come. He’s even better in 2018…so comfortable, such an ability to read the defense and make passes in all spots. He has a great trio of WRs, all of them underrated as well (except Kupp is slightly overrated). Todd Gurley is just nice to have.
Let me put it this way…
Let’s say the Rams are going to go 13-3 this year, as-is.
If the Rams lost Gurley for the season, right now -- any backup or free agent RB would take over and the Rams would go 12-4/13-3. They’d go deep into the playoffs and likely to the Super Bowl.
If the Rams lost Goff for the season, right now, they would struggle to go 8-8 with their backup QB or whatever they would scrounge up from another team. If they went 9-7 and snuck into the playoffs on their defense – they’d be stomped out quickly.
(1) McVay, (2) Goff, (3) The defense/Wade Phillips, (4) The O-Line, (5) Gurley…is the order of importance.
To the nation football analysts, its: (1) Gurley, (2) Gurley, (3) Gurley, (4) Gurley, (5) McVay.
Goff is about to become a star…he should have had 2-3-4 TD passes in this game. They just fell short/close to the goal line and Gurley walked them in.
Todd Gurley (19-42-3, 3-31-0/3) didn’t beat the Cardinals here with his 2.2 yards per carry – Goff did all the heavy lifting.
-- One of the reasons Goff is going to another level – Brandin Cooks (7-159-0/9) is a terrific pairing with Goff. You know how you like Luck + Hilton…this is the better version of that. A better QB with a better WR.
Goff-Cooks has an obvious chemistry that Goff-Watkins wasn’t even close to. The best move the Rams made all offseason, among a ton of them – the trade for Cooks. Cooks will be a WR1 this season, hands down.
And this was the type of targeting/output I expect to see…Cooks 9 targets and big numbers, Robert Woods 9 targets, 6 catches for 81 yards. Cooper Kupp running third wheel with a solid 6 targets.
-- Nothing is wrong with David Johnson (13-48-0, 1-3-0/2). Teams are stacking the line so hard because there is absolutely no fear of Sam Bradford in the passing game. The Cardinals then get down so much, so fast, there’s no reason to keep pushing DJ in a lost cause. His time will come.
Bradford will likely be replaced after an ugly killing at the hands of the Bears this week. Teams will still stack DJ and make Josh Rosen beat them, at first, but he has no fear throwing downfield, so in short order teams will have to start to backing up and then things can start getting to normal. We’re a week or two away, hopefully DJ can crack one in the meantime.
-- When Rosen takes over Christian Kirk (4-27-0/5) is going to become a star in short order. Not sure if that’s a week later or five weeks after, but Kirk is one of the smoothest rookie WRs I’ve seen in a long time. He’s a pro with great hands and great pop after the catch.
When Kirk hits, he’s Golden Tate…only way better.
-- I’m not sure what potion Cardinals DE Benson Mayowa (7 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 TFLs) drank before this game, but I want some. That was a stunning performance by a defensive end. The six-year vet was starting to roll with Dallas in 2016 (4.0 sacks final 5 games of 2016) but was a backup on their deep D-Line in 2017. TO Arizona in 2018…he’s starting for Markus Golden right now, who is expected back Week 3…but I don’t know how you bench Mayowa right now.
In Mayowa’s last 13 games where he has at least two tackles in the game…he has 10.0 sacks.
The Cardinals have defensive pieces. Don’t be surprised if Rosen takes over and the Cardinals start winning games from Weeks 4-8 where their schedule is a bit weaker.
Snap Counts of Interest:
64 = Higbee
08 = Everett
34 = Chad Williams
31 = Kirk
26 = Larry Fitzgerald
23 = JJ Nelson
56 = Mayowa
52 = Nkemdiche
03 = Haason Reddick