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NFL

That One’s On The Rams

Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams watches a replay during the second quarter of a game against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Inglewood, California.
Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The New York Jets avoided history and are now just a very bad 1-13 team after today’s 23-20 upset win over the Los Angeles Rams. The common joke will be that Jets head coach Adam Gase is so bad at his job that he can’t even tank right, as this takes the team out of position for the first overall draft pick and he almost certainly won’t be there for the rebuild. Maybe he wanted to save face after Gregg Williams was too obvious about the whole project. However, the Rams and head coach Sean McVay deserve scrutiny here, because how do you choke like that against a tomato can?

The Rams had played like a pretty good team as of late. Since their Week 9 bye, they’ve beaten the Seahawks and Buccaneers in back-to-back weeks, then the Cardinals and Patriots in a five-day span. This is a nine-win team that had extra time to prepare against an 0-13 opponent, and yet they finished the first half down 13-3. This wasn’t even a road game, man.

It’s not clear that the Jets didn’t win in spite of Gase, a man who insists that his team’s offense feature heavy usage of running back Frank Gore. Today, the 37-year-old ageless-to-ancient wonder had 23 carries for 59 yards and a one-yard touchdown. Gase continued to hammer the ball with an ineffective RB, the Rams shut him down, and they still lost. That makes the defeat even more embarrassing for Los Angeles, honestly. McVay grasped that much, at least:

What might stick with McVay is his play-calling on the Rams’ final possession. On second and six, running back Cam Akers had a 22-yard run negated by an illegal blocking penalty on tight end Tyler Higbee. After Jared Goff’s six-yard pass to Cooper Kupp, giving the offense a third-and-4 situation on the Jets’ 37-yard line, it would’ve made sense to try running the ball again and trying a field goal, as there were still about four minutes left. Instead, Goff threw an incomplete pass on third, and then a deeper incomplete pass on fourth down. McVay’s explanation for those plays wasn’t that convincing:

The Rams have no choice but to move on quickly, because this was the only slouch left on their schedule. The final two regular-season opponents are their NFC West rivals: the division-leading Seahawks and the 8-6 Cardinals. Fortunately for the Rams, I guess, they won’t be seeing the Jets again this season.