NASHVILLE — Casinos don’t take prop bets on such things, but what would have had lower odds in August: Jared Goff making the Pro Bowl, or Jared Goff losing his job as Rams quarterback?
It seemed, at best, a push in training camp, when even Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson opined that Sean Mannion should supplant Goff. Now, Goff has helped the Rams to the verge of their first NFC West title since 2003, and soon Goff officially will join the Pro Bowl roster in only his second season.
“Did you anticipate it?” Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said to a reporter this week, with a smile. LaFleur flipped the question that had been asked of him, but the answer is obvious. No, no one did.
The Rams can claim the division title with a victory against Tennessee on Sunday. It won’t be easy, on the road, in cold weather and against a Titans team that needs to win its final two games in order to make the playoffs. Then again, Goff has yet to face a challenge too big for him this season, and that’s a big change.
Goff, who looked overmatched at times as a rookie last season, with unreliable offensive linemen, receivers and tight ends, now looks like a polished quarterback. This week, Goff was named as a first alternate for the Pro Bowl, and he likely will replace Carson Wentz, who has a torn ACL.
According to ESPN, and information provided by Elias Sports Bureau, Goff, who turned 23 in October, would join this list of quarterbacks who made the Pro Bowl before their 24th birthday: Teddy Bridgewater, Kerry Collins, Daunte Culpepper, Brett Favre, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Michael Vick, Jameis Winston and Vince Young.
That’s distinguished company. Goff has thrown 24 touchdown passes this season, tied for seventh-most, and has averaged 8.0 yards per pass attempt, tied for fourth among full-time starting quarterbacks. Goff also has thrown only seven interceptions in 274 pass attempts, second-best among full-time…