Anytime professional athletes are ushered out of town in favor of another player, the first meeting against their old team tends to bring out the best in the banished player. So, when Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions play the Rams in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon, you know Goff will be hell-bent on playing the best game of his career.
The Lions have started out the season in their usual fashion, losing far more than they win. To be more accurate, the Lions haven’t won a game in their first six attempts this season. Maybe the seventh time is the charm? I’d doubt it, but I do expect Goff to give one of the better performances of his career to produce a win over the team that sent him packing in the off-season. If Goff can only achieve one victory all year, he’s undoubtedly going to give his best effort to ensure it happens against the Rams.
“I think to sum it up, like I said, it’ll be fun to see all of those people, and it’ll be fun to be there, and of course you’re motivated,” Goff said. “Of course, you have the chip on your shoulder, I’ve spoken about that. There was some disrespect felt toward the end. There was some sourness there toward the end and you still feel that. You still have that chip on your shoulder.”
Goff talks about sourness plus the disrespect, and it’s certainly understandable why he’d feel that way upon exiting. The 27-year-old QB has a Super Bowl appearance on his resume, while the QB he was ousted for, Matthew Stafford, has never come close. Even if most talking heads view Stafford as the better individual player, Goff has as many playoff wins to his name as Stafford does appearances, which is three. And Stafford is still looking for his first postseason victory while Goff is .500 (3-3) in playoff games. In fairness to Stafford, his teams, even with Calvin Johnson, don’t stack up to the teams Goff played on during his Rams tenure. Stafford now knows that firsthand.
There’s no doubt Goff will take the field with some mixed emotions Sunday when he faces the team that drafted him back in 2016. But once the game starts, we’ll see a Herculean effort from Goff in wanting to do any and everything possible to beat LA and exact a little revenge for sending him away so abruptly. The Lions won’t win many games this year, if any, but beating the Rams would likely make this all worth it for Goff.
Now whether Goff’s new teammates are prepared to rally around their QB and go into this game wanting to win it for him is another story. I won’t sugarcoat this; the Rams will be the superior team on the field by far. But if the Lions can keep it close, Goff might be able to relive some of the magic he produced in his Super Bowl year with the Rams not too long ago.