On Sunday against the New York Jets, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff did not attempt a single pass in the direction of rookie cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Goff dropped back to pass 38 times in the game but chose not to challenge the 2022 NFL Draft fourth overall pick. Since 2017, only three NFL cornerbacks had more coverage snaps in a game without a target, per NextGenStats.
For some, that may be considered a badge of honor. After all, by forcing Goff to avoid him all day, Gardner was obviously a key factor in holding Detroit’s two starting outside receivers—Josh Reynolds and DJ Chark—to just one catch and 18 yards. But talking to the media on Monday, Gardner wasn’t honored by the gesture. In fact, he was kind of pissed.
“Yesterday I wasn’t targeted, and I took that personally because I wanted to make a bigger and better impact on the game,” Gardner said.
This one meant a little more to Gardner because he is from Detroit. He won a high school state championship in Detroit. He was hoping to make an impact play to all of his friends watching from his hometown.
“You guys were asking me throughout the whole week if it was personal, and I was really saying it wasn’t, but the day before the game when I had people from my hometown calling me and stuff like that, that made it kind of personal,” Gardner said. “I was saying I was going to get my first pick-six against the Lions. I was going to do this, I was going to do that, but I didn’t get targeted, so I really didn’t get the opportunity.”
Eventually, Gardner did admit it was a badge of honor for Goff to have avoided him all game, but still wished he could’ve had the opportunity to make a bigger impact on the game.
- Taylor Decker has vented his frustrations in the past about the way some media and fans have treated him in the past (see: trade discussion). But after Sunday’s win, Decker sent a message of gratitude to the One Pride nation:
- Solid film breakdown from Justin Rogers on why the Lions offense struggled vs. the Jets.
- James Houston got a little love on “Good Morning Football” on Tuesday:
Who were the top rookies of Week 15?@PSchrags' Fabulous 5⃣:— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) December 20, 2022
1) @Giants LB @kayvont
2) @49ers QB @brockpurdy13
3) @Lions LB James Houston
4) @Titans CB @Rogerjamez
5) @Commanders WR @JahanDotson pic.twitter.com/2N193cdM1h
- Kalif Raymond—once a Jet who was cut for muffing punts—had one of the best redemption stories of the week after returning a punt for a touchdown vs. New York. The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy has more on that story.
- A couple of former Lions players are ready to show up if Detroit finishes its improbable playoff run:
I’ll go too— Kenny Wiggins (@KennyWiggins60) December 19, 2022
- Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has a nice column on Jared Goff weathering the emotional storm of the Rams trade and now leading the Lions into improbable territory.
- A bit of housekeeping: Tom Kennedy is back with the Lions. Kennedy has signed to Detroit’s practice squad after the team waived him on Saturday.