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Detroit Lions players motivated to beat Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff

Detroit Lions players are once again rallying behind a teammates facing his former team.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the week, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff downplayed the significance of going against the Los Angeles Rams—both the team that drafted him first overall in 2016 and the franchise that opted to trade him away in 2021 in an effort to upgrade at quarterback with Matthew Stafford. It was much more important, for him, to deliver a postseason win to a city starved for it.

“I so badly want to win a game for this city and win a playoff game for this city that hasn’t had one in so long,” Goff said. “We’ve got a home playoff game for the first time in so long and that’s so much more important than anything personally for me. I want to be a part of this win and do my job to the best of my ability.”

But while Goff may not be taking the “revenge” bait, his teammates certainly are. Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown knows this game means more to Goff, even if it’s business as usual at the practice facility. So the All-Pro receiver is hoping to win one for him.

“As a team, we want to win, obviously. It’s not about Stafford or Jared, it’s about this team and taking it one week at a time, but if you ask me personally, I definitely wanna win it for him,” St. Brown said this week. “I know he might not tell the media, but I think it’s within every player. You come from a team that—first-round pick, went to the Super Bowl, then gets traded—if you ask anyone, they’re going to feel some type of way.

“So for me, I want to go win it for him. I mean, it fires me up that he’s playing his old team. I’m excited for him, and shoot, I wanna do it for him as much as I wanna do it for the whole team.”

Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone joined NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Friday and expressed a similar feeling.

“I think he’s just going to do his thing this week and show up for the game and try to treat it as normal as possible, but it’s human nature,” Anzalone said. “Emotions are involved. I’m sure he’s going to go out there and try to prove a point and play how he’s capable of playing. As a defensive player, I want to do my part in it and play well and dominate for him.”

While players may be individually motivated to deliver Goff an emotional win, that message isn’t coming from the top down. Coach Dan Campbell noted on Friday that they aren’t billing the game as a Goff revenge game, but understand that, yeah, it may be a little more emotional for him.

“This isn’t we’re standing up there and, ‘Win one for the Gipper,’” Campbell said. “But at the same token, I think we all know what this is. I mean we want to win for us. We all want this for us, and we want it for Detroit, but also, hey man, yeah, that’d be special. That would be special. That’s icing on the cake if you will.”

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.