Sean McVay calls out Jared Goff for QB’s turnover woes in Rams’ loss
One night you beat the GOAT, and six days later you are the goat.
Last Monday night, he engineered a game-winning field-goal drive to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady, perhaps the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.
On Sunday, Goff was solely to blame for three of the Rams’ four turnovers in the Rams’ 23-20 defeat by the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium.
Coach Sean McVay typically spreads accountability for poor execution on himself and the offense as a collective unit.
But there was no talking around Goff’s errors Sunday.
“Our quarterback’s got to take better care of the football,” McVay said after the 49ers’ Robbie Gould kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to drop the Rams to 7-4.
A week after the Rams lamented about the lack of holding calls on players facing Aaron Donald, the defensive lineman has a monster game in loss to 49ers.
Goff did not disagree. Not after he fumbled and had two passes intercepted, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
“He’s absolutely right,” said Goff, who signed a $134-million extension before last season, adding, “Take care of the ball better.... And just make better decisions.”
Goff’s mistakes helped the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan — a McVay mentor — defeat the Rams for the fourth time in row. The defending NFC West champions also beat the Rams last season with a last-second field goal by Gould.
The offense’s inability to maintain its high-flying ways of the last two games ruined another strong effort by a defense that went into the game as the NFL’s top-ranked unit.
Rookie safety Jordan Fuller followed up his two-interception performance against the Buccaneers with another interception against the 49ers. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald — held to no tackles in the last two games — deflected the pass that Fuller intercepted, had one of the Rams’ two sacks and stripped the ball from running back Raheem Mostert for a fumble that cornerback Troy Hill returned for a touchdown.
But Goff’s mistakes — and a running back Malcolm Brown’s fumble — ultimately left too much of a burden on a defense that failed to stop 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens from leading a game-winning drive.
“We just as an offense have to consistently be there and we weren’t,” on Sunday, receiver Cooper Kupp said. “We’ve got to find ways to make that a week in, week out, day in, day out kind of thing.”
Goff had been riding high with confidence after passing for three touchdowns against the Buccaneers. On Sunday, he completed 19 of 31 passes for 198 yards.
Goff has passed for 16 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions. He has fumbled five times in the last four games.
Asked what Goff could do to overcome his mistakes, McVay said each play was an individual situation.
“But it might be keeping two hands on the ball,” McVay said, “or it might be understanding that if somebody is swarming around you that you can’t just throw it away when you don’t see where you’re going — being able to trust your guys to be able to separate.
As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate, NFL play is being affected, starting with the Broncos not having a quarterback to and the 49ers not having any place to practice or hold games.
“But overall, any time that you turn it over as many times as we did and he did, it just has to be better. He’s capable of it, but we have to be able to get it done.”
Goff also said there were multiple areas to address.
“It just needs to be a little bit smarter with the ball and better decision making,” he said. “That’s part of my job. I may be good at other parts of the job right now but that’s the main part and that’s something I need to be a lot better at.”
Goff had a pass intercepted by 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman in the first quarter, but the Rams escaped harm when lineman Morgan Fox recovered a fumble. After Goff lost a fumble near the end of the second quarter, he got off the hook when Gould missed a 50-yard field-goal attempt.
But on the second play of the second half, 49ers rookie defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw intercepted a pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown that gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead.
Trailing 17-3 late in the third quarter, the Rams’ offense finally came alive. Goff completed passes to receivers Robert Woods, Kupp and Josh Reynolds. But the drive stalled and Matt Gay’s 41-yard field goal pulled the Rams to within 17-6.
Hill’s fumble return for a touchdown cut the deficit to 17-13, and after the defense forced the 49ers to go three and out, Rams rookie Cam Akers broke off a 61-yard run. Two players later he rushed for a short touchdown that gave the Rams a 20-17 lead.
Deebo Samuel played a big role in the 49ers’ victory over the Rams earlier in the season, and this time comes back from injury to record 11 catches and 133 yards receiving in another San Francisco victory.
But Gould tied the score with just more than three minutes left, and the Rams offense failed to answer on the ensuing drive, setting the stage for the 49ers’ game-winning drive.
The Rams play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Glendale, Ariz. Goff said he would rebound from his performance against the 49ers.
“I’ve had to bounce back from various things before — this is just another one of those hurdles,” he said. “I don’t wish to have too many more hurdles for the rest of the year, but this is another one I have to bounce back from.”
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