The Los Angeles Rams fooled a lot of fans last September and early October, starting 3-1 with Jeff Fisher in charge and Case Keenum at quarterback.

We probably should have known better, considering Jeff Fisher was in charge and Case Keenum was at quarterback. Plus, the Rams actually allowed more points than they scored during that four-week stretch, winning close games against slow-starting Seattle, rebuilding Tampa Bay and struggling Arizona after a 28-0 loss to the 49ers in Week 1.

That team wasn’t for real, and it ended up winning just one game the remainder of the year.

Here we are again. Los Angeles is 3-1, and alone in first place in the NFC West.

But it’s different this time, they swear! Fisher is gone. Replaced by the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay, who is getting the most out of 2016 No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff at quarterback. The Rams haven’t gotten lucky, they’ve just been lapping opponents.

With Goff and running back Todd Gurley both putting up dominant numbers, Los Angeles leads the league in scoring. They’ve put up 35-plus points in three of their first four games, and they’ve hit the 340-yard mark in all four of ’em.

Goff is a different quarterback under McVay, Gurley has bounced back from a sophomore slump with an All-Pro-caliber start to 2017, the receiving corps is far better with newbies Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp joining Tavon Austin, and that entire unit has benefited greatly from the addition of Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

This year, they’ve scored 37 more points than they’ve given up.

Throw in that superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald is leading the way for a defense run by the sneaky-legendary Wade Phillips and you just might have the ingredients required for a surprise playoff berth.

About half of league’s playoff teams change over on a yearly basis. The Rams, who haven’t been to the postseason since 2004, are due to get back. The Seahawks will still be hard to slay, but that offensive line in Seattle is such a mess that they’re more vulnerable than ever. L.A. usually plays them tough, and McVay, Goff, Gurley and Co. will have a chance to make a significant statement by beating them for the fourth time in five meetings with the two get together Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

If that happens, the Rams have to be considered legit. Like, right now.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.