Cal Football: Jared Goff Delivers Nearly Flawless Performance for Rams

Jared Goff has thrown 11 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions in 4 games for the Rams this season.Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA Today

Former Golden Bears' star achieves perfect NFL passer rating, inserts himself into the MVP conversation

Jared Goff made everyone notice on Thursday night.

What they saw in the Los Angeles Rams’ nationally televised 38-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings was unimaginable for the skeptics who watched Goff struggle through his 2016 rookie season.

Still two weeks from his 24th birthday, Goff has to be considered among the early candidates for MVP in the NFL.

The numbers Thursday for the former No. 1 overall draft pick from Cal: 26 of 33 (78.8 percent) for 465 yards and five touchdowns.

Click here for highlights from Goff's big game Thursday night.

"The dude is a straight baller being that accurate delivering the ball," Rams receiver Robert Woods said. "Just standing tall in the pocket, making the right decisions and leading this team."

* Goff posted a perfect NFL passer rating of 158.3 - just the third quarterback ever to achieve that with at least 30 pass attempts.

* He became the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards and a 75 percent completion rate in three straight games.

* He set the “record” for most passing yards on “Thursday Night Football,” and in the process became the first quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards with five touchdown passes on just three days’ rest.

* His five passing TDs tied the record for the most in Rams history, set in 1999 by Kurt Warner. His 465 passing yards are the third-most in Rams history behind 554 from Norm Van Brocklin in 1951 and 509 by Vince Ferragamo in 1982 (Ferragamo played at Cal, too, before transferring to Nebraska).

* Goff also compiled the most passing yardage by a quarterback on fewer than 35 attempts since Joe Namath threw for 496 yards on 28 attempts in 1972.

He has helped lead the Rams to their first 4-0 start since 2001.

Since the beginning of last season, Goff is 15-4. It’s a stunning reversal after going 0-7 as a starter just two seasons ago.

“That’s been the consistent evolution of Jared from Pop Warner through high school through college and now in the NFL,” his father, Jerry, told the Los Angeles Times before the game. “He comes in and figures it out.”

Rams coach Sean McVay, who helped Goff figure it out after taking over the coaching reins last season, said, “No moment is too big for him.”

Goff now has 44 career touchdown passes in 26 NFL games — one more than he threw his final season of 2015 with the Golden Bears.

Everyone was impressed after this one.

Warner, the Hall of Famer who orchestrated the “Greatest Show on Turf” offense of the St. Louis Rams two decades ago, loved what he saw.

“It was so much fun,” said Warner, who worked the game as an analyst for the NFL Network. “The beautiful thing is how they play, the way they attack down the field, which is so much different than what you see from other teams.”

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp (who was coached at Eastern Washington by current Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin), caught nine of Goff’s passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

“He’s an absolute playmaker with how he’s able to place the ball, how he’s able to slide in the pocket and make some of these throws,” Kupp said. “He’s just being Jared.”

Goff was not among the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting, but 11 other Cal players were. See who they were by clicking here.

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