NEW ORLEANS -- Los Angeles Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff threw his first career touchdown pass in the first drive of his second NFL game and finished the first half with three of them, a bright spot in an otherwise demoralizing 49-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
In the opening possession from Mercedes-Benz Superdome - one of the game's loudest environments - Goff took a snap from the shotgun and tossed a perfect, 24-yard lob to 5-foot-8 receiver Tavon Austin, giving the Rams an early 7-0 lead. It completed a drive that began with a 31-yard catch-and-run to running back Todd Gurley and also included a 17-yard back-shoulder throw to primary receiver Kenny Britt.
"We got a good look; a look we kind of expected on that play," Goff said. "I actually didn't think it was going to be complete when I threw it. I thought I threw it a little bit inside, but he made a good play on it."
Goff also lost a fumble deep in his own territory and later threw his first career interception, on a short pass intended for tight end Lance Kendricks. But the latter came in the second half, with a third-string left tackle, Andrew Donnal, forced into action and the Saints' offense increasingly putting the game out of reach.
Later in the first half, Goff completed a six-yard pass to Britt on a slant route immediately after Aaron Donald's strip-sack gave the Rams optimal field position. And just before halftime, Goff capped an impressive eight-play, 79-yard drive with a 15-yard pass to Kendricks, making him the first Rams quarterback since Sam Bradford in 2010 with three touchdown passes in one half.
Goff finished his first road game 20 of 32 for 214 yards - but he remains winless as a starter.
"I don't think there are any moral victories," said Goff, who operated under a very conservative game plan in a loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. "I obviously felt a lot more comfortable in my second game, just from experience. I felt better out there. I was able to see it a lot better and was able to slow it down a little bit. But at the same time, I want to win."