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Where do Jared Goff’s yards really come from?

A look at how Jared Goff’s stats break down

Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

This title seems familiar, doesn't it? Anyone who’s followed us here at Pride Of Detroit knows we spent years debunking myths about Matthew Stafford and where his stats really come from. We had three articles about it and they became Detroit Lions fans textbook they used when arguing in favor of the quarterback for years.

But Matthew Stafford is gone now. It’s time to stop Facebook stalking him like some ex, and move onto the new man in town: Jared Goff.

Goff has his own set of statistical data. He’s got five years of them to be exact. So now that he’s the guy in Detroit, let’s give him some similar treatment. Today we’re going to do a full breakdown of Jared Goff’s stats to find out things like: how he does at the end of games? How does he do playing from behind? What quarter is he most productive?

Let’s start off with the quarter splits.

Note: Statistics were pulled from Pro-Football-Reference.com, unless otherwise stated.

Quarter splits

First quarter: 4,293 yards, 18 TDs, 9 INTs, 66.9 comp %, 93.3 passer rating
Second quarter: 5,249 yards, 34 TDs, 18 INTs, 62.5 comp %, 90.1 passer rating
Third quarter: 4,679 yards, 30 TDs, 16 INTs, 63.4 comp%, 95.3 passer rating
Fourth quarter: 3,799 yards, 24 TDs, 12 INTs, 60.5 comp %, 86.9 passer rating

Much like Stafford, Goff’s produces the most yardage in the second quarter The big difference between Stafford and Goff is that Goff’s worst quarter, by yardage, is the fourth quarter. That’s what happens when you play for a winning team.

Something that really stood out to me is Goff’s third quarter production. The third quarter stats should make Lions fans feel somewhat safe considering how much the Lions have struggled in that quarter over the last few years. There isn’t much of a drop off in play from the second to the third. In fact, Goff’s passer rating is highest out of halftime than in any other quarter. He’s going to give the Lions a shot to compete after the half or help keep the Lions in the lead in the second half of the game.

First quarter production is a little concerning, though. Matthew Stafford’s stats tell the same story. Lower production, but nice accuracy. It could be because teams like to try and establish the run early on.

Point differential splits

This was a favorite in the Stafford pieces. We essentially debunked the theory that most of Stafford’s yardage came in garbage time, while also pointing out that Stafford’s efficiency improved in gotta-have-it moments.

With the Lions rebuilding, there’s a good chance the Goff will be forced to play from behind a lot in 2021. Let’s see how Goff has done from behind.

Trailing with 2 minutes remaining or under: 522 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 57.8 comp %, 70.2 passer rating

Trailing with 4 minutes remaining and under: 876 yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs, 57.8 comp %, 68.0 passer rating

Total Trailing: 7,188 yards, 41 TDs, 28 INTs, 61.0 comp %, 84.9 passer rating

So right away we’re again seeing the difference between the Los Angeles Rams and the Lions. The Rams are frequently winning games. It’s hard to really grasp how Jared Goff will play in these situations because he hasn’t been in them all that much. This will be something to keep an eye on in 2021.

It’s again standing out that Jared Goff is going to be Jared Goff. Regardless of whether the team is ahead or behind. Take a look at his total trailing stats. No look at his total leading stats.

Total leading stats: 7,102 yards, 44 TD’s, 20 INT’s, 63.8 comp %, 94.3 passer rating,

They’re nearly identical. Yes, the interception numbers are higher, but that’s to be expected when playing from behind. Quarterbacks must become less risk averse playing from behind, leading some balls to be forced into tight windows.

That’s something that Goff appears to be able to bring to the table that could really help the Lions. When you have a quarterback that’s the same guy regardless of what situation the team is in, that says a lot about his attitude during important times. Goff is not going to crack under pressure. He’s going to remain calm and keep chipping away.

Snap type, huddle and play action

Here’s something we never did with Stafford. But it’s worth looking at because it may give us an idea of how Goff will be predominantly used or where he struggles. How does Jared Goff play in different situations? Let’s take a look.

Huddle: 10,690 yards, 67 TDs, 33 INTs, 64.7 comp %, 94.1 passer rating
No huddle: 3,349 yards, 8 TDs, 8 INTs, 62.7 comp %, 85.3 passer rating
Shotgun: 10,850 yards, 68 TDs, 39 INTs, 63.6 comp %, 87.8 passer rating
Under center: 5,374 yards, 26 TDs, 12 INTs, 63.2 comp %, 96.8 passer rating
Play action (2019-20 only): 2,916 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 67.2 comp %, 91.2 passer rating

There’s a lot to look at here. The first is that Goff isn’t all that great when it comes to no huddle. The Rams really didn’t ask him to do it all that much either. Can Goff take over in short time situations that require no huddles to move quickly down the field? This is again another thing that can be explained by the Rams being a successful team though.

Where the Rams really used Goff more than anything was under center. It may not look like it from the statistics above, but those only include passing plays. When you look at his body of work in Los Angeles, Goff was used under center more than almost any other quarterback in the NFL.

Goff took nearly every snap of his college career at Cal in the shotgun formation. With the Rams he only took 42 percent of his total snaps in shotgun in 2020, 44 percent in 2019, 38 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017. Goff could return to shotgun a lot more in 2021. New Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn used Justin Herbert out of the shotgun a lot in 2020. The Chargers used Herbert in shotgun on 65 percent of their snaps.

Another thing that could translate is play action. The numbers above are a bit skewed as they only include the previous two seasons. Goff was much more successful in the two years prior. According to to PFF (via Sports Illustrated), Goff averaged 10.6 yards per pass and had a 109.3 passer rating on play action plays in 2017. In 2018—the year the Rams went to the Super Bowl—Goff averaged 10.0 yards per pass and had a 115.0 passer rating. Over those two years, no one threw more play action passes than Goff.

We learned a lot of Jared Goff today, but there’s going to be a lot left to learn. Just like Stafford, this won’t be the last installment of this series. We’ll see you at the end of the season.