The Detroit Lions fell just short of the playoffs despite finishing with their first winning record in five years. Despite the disappointment of not making the postseason, the Lions finished 8-2 in their last 10 games and earned brilliant quarterback play from Jared Goff.
Sent to Detroit to be a placeholder in the Matthew Stafford trade, Detroit may have found its quarterback for the next several seasons. Goff was one of the best quarterbacks in football during the second half of the season and has been good throughout his two years in Detroit.
With the Lions having an opportunity to save $20.65 million in cap space this offseason by moving on from Goff, the only vote of confidence is the one from the head coach -- Dan Campbell. He thinks Goff is more than capable of leading the Lions to the playoffs in 2023.
"Yeah, I do. ... He just – he fits us, he really does," Campbell said Monday. "He fits us, we're about running the football, play-action pass and when you do those things you need a quarterback that can get you in the right play and is very good at accuracy. Throwing the football, decision-making, and he fits the bill on all of that."
Goff had one of his best seasons in the league, completing 65.1% of his passes for 4,438 yards with 29 touchdowns to seven interceptions for a 99.3 rating -- tied for the highest passer rating in a season in Lions history. In the final 10 games, Goff completed 66% of his passes for 2,534 yards with 17 touchdowns to just one interception for a 103.8 passer rating. That trailed only Brock Purdy and Trevor Lawrence for tops in the league.
"I mean, it was a hell of a year by him. He's one of the biggest reasons we even got this turnaround, just his decision-making, taking care of the football," Campbell said. "And look -- look, there's a number of things, I could go for hours here, but the throw that he had to Leaf (Kalif Raymond) in the second half, the double move, across the field, he rolls to his left, he's getting squeezed a little bit and the trust to just launch it. Lay it out there a little bit on the run, trying to flip the hips and it's right on the money. And Leaf went and got it and Leaf by the way was not 100 percent either. And so, I'm just proud of the whole thing there, but that was – to me, that was so impressive of Goff. In the critical moments in that game, second half when we really needed it, he made some big throws man."
The Lions were in position to make a playoff run because of Goff. He bought himself one more year with the Lions -- at the very least. Goff just turned 28 years old last October, so there's plenty of good football left in him.