In an utterly ironic Rams season — the worst offensive team we’ve seen in years is now one of the best, a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season in 13 years now stands among the NFL’s elite, and the boring, mundane product they’ve typically produced is suddenly and undeniably must-see TV — it’s only appropriate the early knockout punch they delivered to the New York Giants on Sunday was dripping with irony.
It’s been that kind of season for the Rams.
And they are making believers of us all. Even if they sometimes can’t themselves.
Such was the case on Sunday when Jared Goff lofted a high, arching pass downfield toward Sammy Watkins, only to instinctively grimace believing he put too much air under it.
“Right away I thought that might be too much,” he’d say later.
Watkins, running as fast as he could while tracking the ball, had little faith he’d arrive in time to make the catch.
“I didn’t know I would get there,” he admitted.
And after months and months of practice trying to finally hook up on a long pass, wouldn’t you know it, the play and route and throw unfolding in front of 76,877 fans at wet, cold MetLife Stadium represented the first time the Goff and Watkins had actually worked on it together.
“That was the first time he’s ever ran that route,” Goff explained.
Yet, much like the magical Rams season playing out before our very eyes — the one turning a previously 90-pound weakling into the NFL’s version of the Hulk while going coast to coast to convert skeptics into believers, just as the ball majestically descended from the gray skies above Watkins stretched his arms out as far as he could.
And into his hands the football softly settled.
Watkins, still in full stride, burst past the remaining Giants defenders on his way to a 67-yard touchdown to put the Rams up by 17 points. They’d eventually pummel the Giants 51-17 for their third straight win.
“It felt great,” Watkins said of the long touchdown.
It wasn’t supposed to happen, yet it did.
The Rams aren’t supposed to be 6-2, yet they are.
They aren’t supposed to be in first place, yet that’s exactly where they sit.
It was expected to take Sean McVay years to breathe life into a Rams offense that barely averaged 14 points per game last year, if he did it at all.
Yet with the calendar flipping from October to November the Rams are averaging 32.9 points per game, easily the best in the NFL
What isn’t supposed to be actually is. Decisively so.
How’s that for irony.
And here’s the thing: Just as the ball fell from the sky organically and naturally into Watkins hands – as if it was meant to be – there is nothing about the Rams right now that seems distorted or fictitious or false.
It’s real. It feels right.
And as each week passes and another powerful statement gets delivered, the Rams record, their place in the NFL and the brightness of their future is becoming as believable as it is apparent.
Even if the most ardent of skeptics continues to worry about the other shoe falling.
As many did when the Rams first embarked on their month long odyssey away from Los Angeles after the gut-punch loss to the Seahawks in early October.
Here we go again, some thought.
They’ll wilt in the heat and humidity of Jacksonville, they warned. They’ll fall victim to the time difference and ordeal of traveling to London to play the Cardinals, some cautioned a week later.
The rust of the bye week, the cross-country travel to New Jersey and the trap being set by the lowly Giants will certainly get them, others worried this week.
“We’ve struggled so much in the past so it’s hard to go all in on us week to week,” veteran guard Rodger Saffold said. The skepticism is understandable as a result.
Albeit waning by the minute after they aced their month-long test with a cumulative score of 111-34 while dominating the Jaguars, Cardinals and Giants.
Three up, three down. And they barely broke a sweat in the process.
Goff threw for a career-high four touchdowns while completing 14 of 22 passes for 311 yards. His passer rating was 146.8, the ninth highest for a single game in franchise history.
Robert Woods scored his first two touchdowns of the season and caught four passes for 70 yards.
The offense scored on eight of their first nine possessions. They scored 40 points for the second time this season.
Keep in mind they didn’t score 40 points in a game in the past two seasons combined.
The defense forced three turnovers, leading to 17 points. Special teams blocked their second punt in three games.
On and on it goes. And the Rams keep getting better and better. Something special is going on here, folks.
As for that other shoe? It high-stepped it out of town.
Maybe it’s time we all recognized.
“The more we win these games the more people are going to believe this is a true and competitive football team that’s going to put us in position to be a top team in this league.” Saffold said.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve seen enough.
I’m all in.
Talk about irony.