Rams Jared Goff proved he can duel with any QB, even in a rematch with Drew Brees

LOS ANGELES -- Jared Goff appeared calm, though the Los Angeles Rams quarterback had every reason not to be.

The Rams trailed the Kansas City Chiefs by four points, with less than two minutes remaining in a Monday Night Football showdown in front of a raucous crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

But there stood Goff in the shotgun formation at the Chiefs’ 40-yard line, cool as could be.

Goff took the snap, made a quick drop and then delivered a 40-yard strike to tight end Gerald Everett, who slipped a tackle and tightroped his way into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the Rams’ 54-51 victory.

“He was awesome, I thought especially on the last drive,” Rams coach Sean McVay said of his third-year quarterback. “They dropped the safety down in, he put it up and down and then Gerald ends up just right down the sideline, not stepping out of bounds.”

It certainly wasn't the first time in what has been not only a true breakout year for Goff, but an MVP-caliber one. He has thrown for more than 320 yards in five games this season, including Monday night's win.

Everett, a second-year pro from South Alabama, expected the ball. “In the huddle, Jared kind of gave me the look and I knew I was going to run full speed,” Everett said. “He knew it, too.”

McVay handed out five game balls in a celebratory locker room, as the Rams improved to 10-1 going into a bye. One game ball went to Goff, who passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns, and another to Everett, who caught three passes for 49 yards and a career-best two touchdowns.

McVay also gave game balls to outside linebacker Samson Ebukam, who scored two touchdowns, and linebacker Ramik Wilson and cornerback Marcus Peters, who both previously played for the Chiefs.

“It was a crazy game, crazy game,” Goff said. “It seemed like at the end, whoever had the ball last was going to win. That's what it felt like.”

The Chiefs and Rams combined for 105 points, the third most in a game in NFL history and the most in the history of Monday Night Football, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Rams scored 21 points off turnovers, while the Chiefs scored seven.

Entering Monday night’s game, Goff had never thrown a go-ahead touchdown pass in the final 11 minutes of regulation. Against the Chiefs, he threw two go-ahead touchdown passes in the final 10. And both were to Everett.

With 10:47 to play, Goff completed a 27-yard pass to Josh Reynolds, then a 36-yard pass to Robert Woods. But consecutive incompletions led to a third-and-7 situation, and Goff delivered to Everett, who caught all three passes thrown to him in the fourth quarter. Going into Monday night’s game, Everett had only three fourth-quarter catches in his first 26 career games.

“There were times where we felt like we had all the momentum, we thought we were going to put the knife in and finish it,” Goff said. “And then there were times where it was the other way around where we were like, 'All right, we need to kind of claw back into this.’ It was a fun one."

“We were calm, not pressed, not pressed about the time, we knew we had enough time,” said Woods, who caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. “Just patient, working, and taking what they give us, and they gave us the home run.”

With go-to receiver Cooper Kupp sidelined for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, and Todd Gurley II largely ineffective or unused, Goff utilized every other playmaker available and completed passes to seven different targets.

Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 107 yards, tight end Tyler Higbee caught six passes for 63 yards, and Reynolds, a second-year pro from Texas A&M, started in place of Kupp and caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

“Gerald and Josh stepped up big,” Goff said. “It seems like every time we need it, someone does and those two were huge today. Just seeing their progression and the players they’re starting to become is exciting.”

But after the Rams fell behind in the fourth quarter, it was Goff’s ability to perform under pressure that brought them back.

In the final 11 minutes, Goff was 5-of-6 for 135 yards and a touchdown when he threw at least 10 yards downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Prior to that, Goff was 4-of-12 for 75 yards on passes of at least 10 yards.

The Rams will still need some help to take home-field advantage from the New Orleans Saints, who beat the Rams two weeks ago. Goff threw for 391 yards and three scores in that meeting in New Orleans. If another meeting with Drew Brees comes, the Rams are even more confident Goff can continue to go toe-to-toe with any QB.

“Jared’s poise and confidence and ability to respond after it wasn’t always pretty, especially in some instances, is why you love him,” McVay said. “And why he’s such a great quarterback because of that even-keel demeanor and disposition and that poise that we always talk about.”