Brian Allee-Walsh

With season on the line, Fisher turns to Jared

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16).
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16). Associated Press


He went to Jared.

After 10 inauspicious weeks of the NFL season, Los Angeles coach Jeff Fisher finally decided to bench quarterback Case Keenum in favor of prized rookie Jared Goff and see if the Rams have a gem of a player in the No. 1 overall draft pick or fool's gold.

Not that Goff is singlehandedly going to solve all the Rams' offensive problems as we saw in last week's 14-10 loss against Miami but the time has come in their season to fish or cut bait.

And now the second part of the sample analysis takes place at noon Sunday in New Orleans against the Saints where they are 6-18 in their last 24 games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Goff's debut -- 17 of 31 for 134 yards, with no touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 65.8 passer rating -- barely caused a stir in LA-LA land. In other words, he didn't receive rave reviews or thumbs up from the Hollywood critics.

In Goff's defense, he didn't lose the game. But he didn't win it, either.

At some point, Goff's value as the No. 1 overall pick with be judged solely on winning or losing.

For now, Fisher is asking Goff to do his job, nothing more, nothing less. Follow the game plan, keep featured running back Todd Gurley totally engaged, take what the defense offers, move the chains and let the Rams' sixth-ranked defense flex its ample muscle.

On paper, Sunday's game appears to be a classic example of the unstoppable force (Saints offense) versus the immovable object (Rams defense). The Saints are averaging 422 yards (316.8 yards through the air) and 28.5 points per game. The Rams are yielding 318.3 yards (215.7 yards through the air) and 18.7 points per game.

It also appears to be a classic mismatch under center: future Hall of Fame/Super Bowl XLIV MVP quarterback Drew Brees (237 total starts, 67,619 total passing yards, 478 total TD passes, 234 total wins) versus Goff (1 start, 134 yards, 0 TDs, 0 wins).

Just saying.

How much leash Fisher gives Goff on Sunday remains to be seen. I suspect the training wheels will remain on this week and for the foreseeable future.

One thing is certain: he'll face a vastly improved Saints defense under coordinator Dennis Allen, especially inside the red zone (a league-best 33.3 TD percentage since Week 7) and rushing the passer (eight sacks the past two games).

Too, Goff's first road start takes place in one of the league's loudest and craziest venues.

Yet, in Jeff Fisher's opinion, Goff gives the Rams the best chance to win.

That's why he went to Jared.