Shortly after Detroit’s 34-23 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Goff refused to get carried away with the moment, but certainly kept receipts of his doubters, who criticized the team’s poor start.
“It feels good. It makes me feel like we’re making a lot of people eat what they said, mostly,” said Goff, who threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. “We know who we are and we know what we can do.”
After a 1-6 start, the Lions have won five of their past six games and are pushing for a playoff spot for the first time since 2016. If that happens, Detroit will join the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals as the only teams in NFL history to start 1-6 or worse through seven games and still reach the postseason.
Goff couldn’t pinpoint exactly where the switch occurred with this team, but acknowledged that it starts from the top with coach Dan Campbell’s consistent demeanor, during high and low moments.
“Yeah, things sucked early on obviously and who knows how long that could’ve lasted, but we trusted ourselves, trusted the work we put in, trusted Dan and trusted the coaching staff and we’re almost back to .500 now and who would’ve thought that at 1-6,” Goff said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but with that being said, we’re 6-7 and the reality is we still have to win quite a few games to get to the playoffs. Sure, we’re doing a lot of good things right now, but we have four more and if we can win all of them, I’m sure we’ll have a great chance, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Entering the week, Goff believed he was playing the best football of his entire career. For five straight games, he hasn’t thrown an interception behind a strong offensive line. Campbell says the team goes as far as Goff performs.
The offense has scored at least 30 points in seven games this year, which has tied the 2011 Lions squad for the most points in a season in franchise history. Detroit’s overall confidence is surging while limiting costly mistakes.
“Our guys, they know they belong. They know they belong and they know when they play football like we’ve been playing the last six weeks, we can play with anybody,” Campbell said. “That’s the truth.”
Campbell said he felt “drained” after the latest win as he’s pushing to change the losing narrative attached to the Lions franchise.
Neither Goff nor Campbell admitted to being satisfied with their overall record, but they didn’t overlook that things are going well with better decision-making and defensive adjustments.
After Sunday’s win, the Lions increased their playoff chances from 5% to 10%, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker has been adamant that these aren’t the “same old Lions” of years past who would often blow key games.
“It’s about as good as it’s felt in my entire career here, about as confident as we’ve ever been,” Decker said. “We’re just meeting challenges head-on, week in, week out meeting challenges head-on. It just feels good. I’ve spoken about it before when we had a couple of wins, really early where it kind of just validates the work that we put in. Kind of reinforces the fact we’re doing the right thing.”
Streaking Lions remember doubters, but still not satisfied