Because in those first three quarters, the veteran signal-caller tossed three interceptions. It marked Goff's first three-interception game since September 2019, when he was still a member of the L.A. Rams.
Goff, who was Pro Football Focus’ No. 1-graded passer entering the Week 11 contest, looked nothing like it through the first 45 minutes Sunday. And, it had all the makings of a forgettable performance for the former No. 1 overall pick.
However, it'd be horribly unfair to judge Goff's day against the Bears based on those three quarters alone.
Instead of letting his putrid start to the game mentally beat him up, he stayed calm, cool and collected, even as the Lions went down by as many as 12 points late in the fourth quarter. And, he helped key Detroit's stunning, come-from-behind victory in front of its home fans.
With just 4:15 to play in the final quarter, he led the Lions on two touchdown drives, and completed 10-of-12 passes for 115 yards on those two aforementioned possessions.
“I think it speaks volumes,” Campbell said, in the postgame, of the resilience displayed by Goff Sunday. “He doesn’t have his best game, but it’s really when you needed him most in a two-minute drive at the end of the half, that was pretty big. And, one at the end of the game, down two scores. That’s when he’s at his best – in a game that he’s not playing his best game – I think that speaks volumes.
“So, here’s what we know about Goff: At the very least, he’s going to be mentally tough and physically tough, and you can always count on that. You can bank on that, and today he showed his resiliency, you know? And, when we needed those plays when he showed up in no-huddle mode, he was awesome.”
However, the eighth-year pro played well when it mattered most in the NFC North divisional affair. And, that just happens to be one of the major defining qualities of a quarterback you can consistently win with in the NFL.
“I think the expectations for our team are as high as they’ve ever been, and we want to win home games in front of our fans against division opponents, and today, we ultimately did that,” Goff said after the victory over Chicago. “We didn’t get there in a straight line, but we ultimately came out with the W. And again, it’s a testament to how tough and courageous we are on offense and defense.”
Throughout the course of the 2023 season, the Lions have proven time and time again that they're a mentally tough, resilient bunch. And, they've become that type of team by taking on the identity of not only their head coach, but also the identity of Goff.
Goff might not be the flashiest or most gifted passer that the game has to offer today. But, what separates him from most of his peers at the quarterback position is his mental fortitude, a quality of his which has rubbed off on his Detroit teammates.
The ever-stoic Goff is rarely frazzled, even when things aren't going his way (as was the case for the majority of the day against the Bears).
With that said, the veteran quarterback is unsurprisingly one of the best in the league at putting his mistakes behind him. He did just that on Sunday, and guided the Lions to a hard-fought, fourth-quarter comeback win.
And, it was just the latest example of Goff shining when it mattered most for the Lions.