We’ve come to the end of our 2022 Pride of Detroit Awards, and the the granddaddy of them all.
“Most Valuable Player” is a term that is always the center of debate. Does it mean the “best” player or do you take the words more literally and pick the player who brings the team the most value?
For the Detroit Lions, the answer may be the same to both of those questions, but that is certainly up for debate. As evidenced by the four players at the Pro Bowl last weekend, the Lions have some seriously talented players who are among the best in the NFL at their position. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that.
So to close out our 2022 awards, here are our nominees for 2022 Detroit Lions Most Valuable Player.
It was almost like a light switch flipped for Goff this year. About halfway through the season, his grasp of offensive coordinator Ben Johnson’s playbook became second nature and it led to the Lions having one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL. Not only was Goff putting his skill players in spots to be successful, but he drastically reduced his mistakes—his current streak of passes without an interception is at 324, the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.
But the thing that impressed me the most this season was Goff’s learned to trust his teammates and he stood tall in the pocket, making critical plays. Look no further than the season finale against Green Bay, when on multiple occasions, Goff remained composed and made the tough throw when it mattered.
With the nature of today’s NFL and how the Lions operated, their most valuable player almost certainly has to be Jared Goff. For the majority of the year, the Lions’ offense was a well-oiled machine, and at the center of everything was Goff. Without him playing at a high-level, it would have been very tough to sustain the 8-2 run they went on to close out the year.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Let’s start by getting this out of the way: Amon-Ra St. Brown is a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL—and that’s one helluva compliment when you look around a league that’s absolutely stocked to the brim with elite talent at wideout.
When St. Brown injured his ankle in the first matchup with the Vikings, this Lions team—and Jared Goff—just wasn’t the same for the next few weeks. Their offense was shut out against the Patriots in Week 5 with him playing through that same injury, and when he was pulled in the first quarter from the Week 7 game against the Cowboys for a concussion, the Lions mustered just six points.
Here is St. Brown’s rank among wide receivers with at least 90 targets in 2022:
- t-6th in YAC/Rec (5.1)
- t-8th in yards per route ran (2.40)
- 4th in first downs (68)
- 4th in percentage of targets caught (76.3)
It’s gotta be Jared Goff (to everyone who says I never say anything nice about Goff, take note). The Lions’ success on offense and as a team began and ended with Goff, and Goff delivered down the stretch. The Lions needed him to play clean football, and he did more than just that. He played clean football and good football, progressing throughout the season to making throws that we didn’t know was possible based on what we saw last season. Goff was a huge reason for the Lions’ turnaround and their success, and heading into 2023 it will be equally dependent on him.
I don’t think enough has been said about how much Jared Goff improved throughout the season. While the Lions’ 8-2 run has been largely credited to an improvement on defense, Goff deserves plenty of recognition, too. Not only did Goff eliminate the negative plays (only one turnover and eight sacks in the final eight games), but he also started unleashing a lethal passing attack, averaging 7.7 yards per pass attempt since Week 10—ninth best over that time period. Oh, and that PFF website that “hates” Goff? Well, he was their fifth-best quarterback in the final seven weeks of the season (83.6 PFF grade).
And remember, Goff showed all of that improvement in the second half of the season despite the fact that Detroit’s running game actually got worse down the stretch. Goff carried that offense during the Lions’ 8-2 finish.
The Lions and Packers are both much better teams than when they first met: pic.twitter.com/HSnZPye3TE— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) January 4, 2023
I was critical of Goff last season, and I needed to see two things to instill some faith: he needed to play with confidence and he needed to minimize the costly mistakes. Those happened in 2022. I’m not an advocate for quarterback wins, but you need look no further than the Lions’ wins and losses to determine if Goff played well or not. In games where Goff committed a turnover, the Lions were 1-6. In games where Goff did not commit a turnover, the Lions were 8-2. Goff was an instrumental reason why the Lions went on their late-season tear. The offense played well for most of the season, but Goff was nearly perfect down the stretch. Goff looked confident on offense, and he had all the pieces around him to succeed. The running backs ran hard, the receivers balled out, the offensive line held strong, the tight ends made the most of their chances. Yet without Goff playing at the level he did in 2022, I don’t think the Lions even sniff the playoffs.
Though I picked Amon-Ra St. Brown over Goff for OPOY, Goff is still the most valuable and most important piece to this offense. Goff had a great year. He did everything that was asked of him and more, and down the later stretch of the year played probably the best football we’ve seen from him in his career. The relationship between offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Goff is only going to continue to grow, and I’m excited to see what they have in store for us next year. This could damn well end up being the best offense in all of football next year, and yes, Jared Goff is a big reason why.
My initial thought was Jared Goff, but I’m going to be different again. It’s Jamaal Williams. Being the MVP isn’t just about the play. Although the play was definitely there. Williams set the Lions rushing touchdown record this season and became the teams first 1,000 yard rusher since 2013. The real reason is because this man has become the heart and soul of this Lions team and it shows every single week. The Lions don’t continue to fight without great coaching and players like Jamaal Williams.
Who was the Lions’ MVP in 2022?
This poll is closed
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Other (vote in comment section)