I bet you didn’t think this would be the big takeaway from the Detroit Lions’ 48-45 loss to the Seahawks. Well, it is. Not long ago in Week 1, I questioned, right here on Monday Overreactions, if the clock was ticking for Jared Goff. The reason I deemed it to be an overreaction at the time was because much of the overreaction came from how bad he played in the first half of that game against the Eagles. Goff played quite well in the second half of that game.
I also mentioned that there was still plenty of time for Goff to prove it. Well, since the beginning of the second half of that game Jared Goff has begun to play arguably the best football of his entire career. He’s gone 85-of-136 for 1,073 yards, 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions. That’s a passer rating of 107.9, which would rank fourth in the NFL right now. Even including that first half against the Eagles, his 99.9 passer rating is seventh in the league.
For comparison sake, in the first four games of Matthew Stafford’s last season with the Lions, he completed 60.5% of his passes for 1,017 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions.
I know what you’re thinking. “Mike, you clearly cherry-picked 2020 since it was such a bad season for the Lions.”
I was hoping you would say that. I actually wanted you to say that. That’s why I charted the first four games of every year of Stafford’s entire career with the Lions to show you just how good Jared Goff is playing right now.
2022 Goff: 92-of-151 for 1,126 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 99.9 passer rating
2020 Stafford: 83-of-137, 1,017 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs, 93.8 passer rating
2019 Stafford: 88-of-141, 1,122 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs, 102.6 passer rating
2018 Stafford: 112-of-165, 1,202 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs, 92.5 passer rating
2017 Stafford: 88-of-138, 887 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 95.9 passer rating
2016 Stafford: 104-of-156, 1,198 yards, 7 TDS, 4 INTs, 93.9 passer rating
2015 Stafford: 106-of-163, 1,017 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, 79.7 passer rating
2014 Stafford: 95-of-148, 1,176 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs, 91.5 passer rating
2013 Stafford: 100-of-156, 1,262 yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs, 96.2 passer rating
2012 Stafford: 114-of-173, 1,182 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 81.6 passer rating
2011 Stafford: 100-of-161, 1,217 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 100.4 passer rating
2009 Stafford: 79-of-139, 834 yards, 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 63.7 passer rating
There you have it. With the exception of 2011 and 2019, where Goff and Stafford put up very similar numbers, Goff is off to one of the best starts a quarterback has had in Detroit in a very long time. If you were so sure that Stafford was a quarterback capable of leading Detroit to something special, it’s hard to not say the same of Goff right now.
I know that Lions fans want the best quarterback in the league, but that guy isn’t just chillin’ out there waiting for the Lions to come get him. He isn’t in the draft and he isn’t sitting there in free agency. I know Lions fans want Lamar Jackson, but that just is not going to happen. By the way, here are Jackson’s numbers passing the ball so far this season: 76-of-117 for 893 yards, 11 TDs, 4 INTs and a 105.1 passer rating.
Very comparable to Goff. Obviously, Jackson brings an element to the game that Goff can’t bring with his ability to move his feet on the ground. Still, Jackson and Goff have been similarly effective through the air.
The fact of the matter is that Goff is playing really well right now and making quite the case for himself. He’s not getting bailed out by all-word receivers either. If you want a guy who is going to make the guys around him better, Goff made one hell of a case against the Seahawks on Sunday. Goff had his best game of the year without Amon-Ra St. Brown, DJ Chark, and D’Andre Swift.
Goff powered T.J. Hockenson to the best game of his career, he made Tom Kennedy look good, he did the same with Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond too. Goff was throwing the ball in ways we’ve not previously seen him throw and these weren’t short passes. His average intended yards of 10.4 was fifth-highest in the league for Week 4.
I really just don’t know what more you want from the guy. He’s improved and he’s improved the players around him. He’s the guy for the Lions right now.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the Lions can’t still plan for the future by drafting a quarterback they like next April. It also doesn't mean they can’t take a shot at Lamar Jackson if a shot is able to be taken. Jackson is obviously the better quarterback because he’s multifaceted. The Lions don’t have to be glued to Goff forever. But if Goff keeps playing like this, it’s a no-brainer that the Lions should continue to move forward with him instead of opting out of his contract after this season.