clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jared Goff missed a throw that demonstrates why Rams traded for Matthew Stafford

Jared Goff missed an open Amon-Ra St. Brown against the Chiefs. It’s a similar play Matthew Stafford made.

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

The Detroit Lions surprised some of the NFL-world in the 2023 season-opener on Thursday Night Football when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 21-20. Former Los Angeles Rams quarterback, Jared Goff improved to 2-0 against Patrick Mahomes and continued his streak of 324 consecutive passes without throwing an interception.

While Goff had a solid game against the Chiefs, completing 22-of-35 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown, there was one play with a missed opportunity that is worth discussing. It’s a play that demonstrated exactly why the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford. It’s also a throw that was crucial to the Rams winning the Super Bowl in 2021.

On third-and-12 and trailing by six with 10:45 to play in the fourth quarter, Goff made a really nice throw to Josh Reynolds to pick up the first down. The completion kept the drive alive and the Lions went down the field and scored what would be the game-winning touchdowns.

However, a closer look at the player would show you that Goff missed a wide open Amon-Ra St. Brown in the seam that likely would have ended in a touchdown. The former Rams quarterback admitted as much in his on-field post-game interview.

Goff’s throw to Reynolds wasn’t the wrong one, but it was a throw within the structure of the play design.

Flashback to the Rams-Buccaneers NFC Divisional playoff game. that’s a throw that Matthew Stafford made to Cooper Kupp with the game on the line. The play became knows as the “For the Love of the Game” route and was the reason the Rams beat the Buccaneers on the road to advance to the NFC Championship game. The Ringer’s Ben Solak broke down the two plays perfectly. The video breakdown is definitely worth a watch.

Again, there is nothing wrong with the throw that Goff made. That’s where the play is designed to go with Goff hitting the backside dig and continuing the drive. That much is true.

What’s also true is that the play illustrates why the Rams traded for Stafford in the first place. This is the same look that Stafford recognized prior to hitting Kupp down the seam against the Buccaneers. It’s a play that’s made out of structure. That ability to improvise and work outside of the structure of the play design at times is what Sean McVay wanted when they traded Goff for Stafford prior to the 2021 season.

The former Rams quarterback is finding success with the Lions as Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell, and Ben Johnson put the pieces around him to give him the best chance to succeed. Detroit is fine with taking Goff for who he is which is a player that can execute their offense as designed. However, is that enough to get the Lions to where they have potential to go? Despite Goff missing St. Brown, the Lions still managed to score a touchdown on that drive. It was enough to beat the Chiefs on the road on Thursday night. Will it be enough in the playoff when these missed plays can be the difference?