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Film Study: Breaking down Jared Goff’s perfect game

Trying to see what we can find out from Goff’s best performance

LOS ANGELES RAMS VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Minicamp is over. We’ve now reached that point of the offseason where we’re just dying for training camp to start so we can see any form of football. So why not try something you’ve never tried before? That’s what I decided to do. I did my first ever film study this week. The subject is Jared Goff’s perfect game from Week 4 of the 2018 season.

Goff absolutely went off in this 38-31 win over the Minnesota Vikings. He went 26-of-33 for 465 yards and five touchdowns. His performance netted him a perfect 158.3 passer rating. What I was hoping to do was simply get a glance at what Goff does best and where the Lions could see effective play from him in 2021. Here’s a breakdown of what I found.

Goff can sling it

Before I get into any real stats, I have to say how impressed I was by Goff in this game. Yes, I realize that this is the best game of his career and he, like many other quarterbacks, has made his fair share of mistakes. But I didn’t know Goff could wing the pig like this. After losing Matthew Stafford and his amazing arm, I thought the days of highlight-worthy throws in Detroit were over. Then I saw Goff do this.

He made it just look so effortless. It could’ve have gone so wrong, but he threw it just perfectly into Cooper Kupp’s hands. This wasn’t the only great throw though. Goff showed a lot of pretty stuff in this game and he showed that he could lead receivers, throw them open and fit the ball into windows. I’m not saying he’s Stafford by any stretch, but we may be underestimating the potential here. Onto the stats.

Snap Type

Last week we did a piece about where Jared Goff’s stats come from. In there I broke down Goff under center vs. Goff in the shotgun. The stats showed that Goff was pretty even in both categories, but better under center. What we saw on film mirrors that a bit. Goff passed after lining up under center 14 times. He completed 12 of those passes for 294 yards (21.0 yards per attempt!!!) and a touchdown. Not bad.

Conversely, he did more damage on the scored board out of the shotgun. While he only threw for 171 yards out of the shotgun, four of his touchdowns came when he lined up that way. The bulk of his incompletions came out of the shotgun, though. He went 13-of-19.

We’ve established that Goff has been better under center during his time in the NFL in our article last week, but he can still do a lot of damage in the shotgun. This is something he did a lot of in college and that helped make him the number one pick. The Lions are reportedly gearing up to use Goff in a similar way in 2021. Could we see this type of production?

Play action

The Rams sure did love them some play action. In this particular season, the Rams used play action more than any team in the NFL, and this game was no exception. Goff threw 16 play action passes and completed 14 of them for 328 yards and two touchdowns. This is where Goff’s big plays came from. He had a 36-yard completion, a 56-yard completion, and this beautiful 70-yard touchdown to Cooper Kupp.

We’ll see how this transfers to the Lions game plan, but it seems clear the Lions should feel comfortable with Goff throwing play action passes in 2021.

Taking shots

Goff did not hesitate to throw downfield in this game. He had seven throws of 20 yards or more. Only eight of his 33 passes gained less than 10 yards. In all, he had 234 air yards, meaning 234 of his yards came through the air (YAC not included). To put that in perspective, his average completed air yards was 9.2, which was good for second-highest in the NFL that week. Goff was not just letting his receivers do all the work. His receivers did help him out with 196 yards of YAC though. So that was nice of them.


I broke down the direction of each pass. Was it left, right, or down the middle? Here’s how Goff did in each section.

Goff was at his best in this game when throwing straight down the middle. He went 8-for-10 for 183 yards and two touchdowns. The rest of his attempts were shared equally between the left and right sides of the field. While he threw for 170 yards and a touchdown going left, he only completed 12 of his 16 attempts. While he was more accurate throwing to the right side, he only threw that direction 11 times and completed eight of those. His two worst completed passes came going to the right. Two plays went for negative yardage (-5 and -3). He did, however, complete two touchdowns in the right direction.

All in all, I think what we can take from this game is that Goff can be a real problem for defense when he’s on his game, the Lions can use him effectively in play action, and he can ball out of the shotgun or under center. We’ll see how much of this Jared Goff the Lions get soon enough.

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