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Even in victory, Jared Goff shows why Rams traded him to Lions for Matthew Stafford

Goff’s Lions could make the playoffs this year and it still wouldn’t have made sense for Rams to keep him

NFL: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a Rams fan rooting for Jared Goff to have success with the Detroit Lions, you were in luck on Thursday night. The former number one overall pick helped the Lions pull a 21-20 upset over the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s first game of the season, including a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter that was a vintage version of Goff at his best.

The Lions and Goff have now won nine of their last 11 games.

But set aside Goff’s best drive of the game for a moment, which is something that Rams fans saw plenty of times during his run with the team and under Sean McVay from 2017 to 2020, that being the fact that the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has proven capable of running an offense when he’s surrounded by talent. For four quarters, there was nothing improved about Jared Goff compared to his time with McVay.

We’ve always known that Goff can have good drives and that he’s capable of completing difficult passes that most quarterbacks wouldn’t be able to complete. The issue for Goff now is the same as the issues that led to L.A. trading him to Detroit, along with two first round picks, for an upgrade in Matthew Stafford: His accuracy is very inconsistent, he is not a special deep ball passer, he has to stay within the structure of the offense to have any success, and he is not a quarterback who creates big plays on his own, like for example the Kansas City quarterback he faced on Thursday.

Or like Matthew Stafford.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, then watch this breakdown from Benjamin Solak following the Lions 21-20 win on Thursday in which he compares Goff overlooking a wide open Amon-Ra St. Brown for a touchdown on the same type of play breakdown that led to a huge playoff-winning moment for Stafford on the Rams in 2021:

It’s in response to articles like this one that some fans will comment, “Stop talking about Jared Goff, get over Jared Goff, he’s not on the Rams anymore let’s move on from Jared Goff.” But this isn’t just about Jared Goff and the fact is that the trade is still dramatically impacting the Los Angeles Rams to this day. Not only because L.A. won a Super Bowl with Stafford, not only because the Rams are facing potential contractual issues with Stafford, but also because the fans and the media will continuously point back to the trade if the Lions make the playoffs and the Rams don’t.

Anyone who does that as some sort of “evidence” that the Lions “won the trade” doesn’t understand the difference between Stafford and Goff, or how much better the passing offense was in 2021 than it was in the previous four seasons.

Todd Gurley took Goff to the Super Bowl in 2018.

Matthew Stafford took Sony Michel and Cam Akers to the Super Bowl in 2021.

On Thursday night, Goff finished 22-of-35 for 253 yards and a touchdown but those stats don’t accurately reflect that he still doesn’t seem to have consistent accuracy, with many of his completions being low, taking his receivers to the ground, and many of his incompletions being too high to wide open receivers. The Lions scored 21 points, but one touchdown came from Detroit safety Brian Branch intercepting a pass that bounced off of the hands of Chiefs receiver Kadarius Toney. So actually the Lions scored 14 points against a Kansas City defense that didn’t have its best player, defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Give credit to the Lions for winning a game that they were picked to lose and potentially starting to change the narrative of a franchise that has never been expected to come out victorious in moments like Thursday night. But in case anyone thought that Goff had changed the narrative on why he was included as a “throw-in”, rumored to be such a contractual burden that L.A. had to include a first round pick just to get Detroit to take him in the deal, he looked the same on Thursday as he did with the Rams.

Still, I wish him good luck.