ALLEN PARK — Dan Campbell offered a perfect example on Monday of why Jared Goff is the right quarterback at the right time for the Detroit Lions.
Prior to Sunday night’s prime time game at Green Bay, Campbell said he was trying to set the mood with the team, light the fire so to speak.
“Your guys should be riled up and you’re just dousing them with gasoline. Then I’m kind of pulling Goff and saying, ‘Make sure you keep these guys calm,’’’ Campbell laughed as he said it.
“(Goff’s) got to be, that’s what he has to do for us. He has to be the constant, there can’t be the ebbs and flows the highs and lows, he has to stay centered and be that for your team. … He fits us, he really does,’’ the coach added.
Goff played a big role in the Lions’ turnaround from a 1-6 start to finishing with a huge 20-16 win over the Packers to finish the season at 9-8.
“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, controlling the football, decision making and he fits the bill on all of that,’’ Campbell said. “It’s a hell of a year by him. He’s one of the biggest reasons we got this turnaround — just his decision making, taking care of the football.’’
Goff ended the season throwing 324 straight passes without an interception. That’s the fifth longest streak in NFL history. Again, he’s a huge reason the Lions finished the regular season with the least number of turnovers of any NFL team.
Over the season Goff threw 29 touchdown passes, seven interceptions, completed 65.1 percent of his passes and finished with a 99.3 passer rating.
“It feels great, it’s been a lot of fun this year. I said — whenever that was — I felt like I was playing my best football. I still feel that way,’’ Goff said on Monday. “Surrounded by a lot of great players, a lot of great coaches, I have been able to have some good success personally.
“More than anything I think being able to finish with a winning record as a quarterback and leader of this a team coming back from 3-13 and to do what we did this year, granted we didn’t make the playoffs,’’ Goff added. “The progress feels incredible and where we are right now heading into the offseason feels really good.’’
Goff has been surrounded with solid offensive talent and protected by what is arguable the best offensive line in the NFL.
“I think he played amazing this year personally. Obviously you look at his stats, the way he took care of the ball the last 10 weeks, he has been one of the best in the league,’’ wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said. “Just that alone has been something really hard to do. The fact he’s shown that he can do that is a testament to the hard work he puts in, the care that he takes, the approach he takes to the game. That wins you football games. … Just that alone shows you how much he cares about this team, how much work he’s put in, I’m excited to play receiver for him.’’
Goff has said repeatedly in the last week that he appreciated being surrounded by a special group and on Monday said this season stacks up pretty high in his career.
“Maybe it’s prisoner of the moment, but this team is as special of a group as I’ve ever been a part of – it’s not prisoner of the moment because we were 1-6 … The people in this room and the people in this locker room, the coaches, it’s truly incredible the mental toughness and the perseverance that this group has that will carry us into hopefully greater things in the future,’’ Goff said. “It’s very humbling and I’m proud to be a part of it and say I’m a leader of it and to be around these people every day this year.’’
(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)