ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Jared Goff didn’t bat an eye following Wednesday’s practice session as he delivered a bold claim in front of his locker room stall.
“I feel like I am playing the best football of my career right now,” the Detroit Lions quarterback said.
Goff later clarified that he did in fact mean best of his entire career, even better than the 2018 season when he led the Los Angeles Rams to Super Bowl LIII, and not just his short time spent in the Motor City.
“I’ve played a lot of good football in my career, but I feel as comfortable as I’ve ever felt,” Goff said. “I’m getting older, I’m understanding the game more and it’s just everything coming together a little bit.”
As the leader of a red-hot Lions team that has won four of its last five games, Goff said he has grown comfortable, particularly working with first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, and hopes to continue that groove to finish the season strong. He wants to change the losing culture within the Lions organization as they’re trying to make a late playoff push for the first time since 2016 under former coach Jim Caldwell, with just five regular-season games remaining.
“It’s always been the goal since I’ve got here, knowing the history of this place is to win and to enjoy winning in this city and to give the fans what they deserve here that have been starved of it for so long,” Goff told ESPN. “We’re still not there. We’re 5-7, but a lot of positivity going on right now and things moving in the right direction. We’re playing really good football, regardless of who we’re playing or what the score has been, it’s been really good football the last five weeks and can we continue that for another five weeks would be the goal and to finish the season strong.”
Goff has the Lions’ offense rolling this season. His 60.4 total QBR is the sixth best in the league, and he has the seventh-most passing yards.
Detroit’s offense is averaging the sixth-most points per game at 25.50 after a 40-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and have scored at least 30 points in six games this year — which is tied for the second most in franchise history for any season. Against Jacksonville, Goff went 31-for-41 with 340 passing yards and two touchdowns. It was his first game of the season with 300 or more yards along with multiple passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Lions receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown caught 11 of Goff’s passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns versus the Jaguars. Over the past month or so, St. Brown has witnessed Goff reach a different level of play as they’re pushing to try and reach the postseason.
“I’m glad to be a part of it. He’s done a great job with the offense, commanding it, getting us into different plays when we need to,” St. Brown said. “I think he’s playing super confident, probably some of the most confident ball I’ve seen him play since I’ve been here.”
Head coach Dan Campbell credits Goff’s increased confidence level for his taking care of the football and making smart decisions. Running back D’Andre Swift described Goff as being “more comfortable” than last year, which is why he’s been one of the league’s most productive passers as of late.
“Natural-born leader,” Swift told ESPN. “We’re only going to go as far as he takes us. We wanted to be playing our best ball later in the season, in November and December, which we kind of have been. I’m so proud of him in the way that he carries us. Like I said, we go as far as he goes.”