Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell sticks with Jared Goff: 'Gives us the best chance'

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The Detroit Lions are the only winless team in the NFL and Jared Goff is coming off his worst passing performance in more than two years, but Lions coach Dan Campbell is sticking with Goff at quarterback.

"Ultimately," Campbell said Monday, "I still think right now he's the guy that gives us the best chance."

Goff struggled in Sunday's 16-16 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, when he played the final three quarters and overtime with an oblique injury.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, Nov. 14, 2021.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, Nov. 14, 2021.

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He had minus-1 yard passing in the first quarter, was 11 of 20 for 54 yards passing in regulation and missed several throws to open receivers.

Goff, who finished the game 14 of 25 for 114 yards, was undergoing further testing on his side Monday, though Campbell said he did not believe the injury was serious.

On Sunday, Campbell said he never seriously considered pulling Goff and putting in backup quarterback David Blough after consulting with Goff, quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell and the Lions medical staff about the injury.

"If I felt like there was no way that he could function then I would (have taken him out), Campbell said. "But I didn’t feel that way yesterday."

Acquired as part of January's trade of Matthew Stafford for three draft picks, Goff is having his worst season since his rookie year.

He has one touchdown pass in the Lions' past five games, 10 turnovers on the season and the Lions rank 29th in the NFL in scoring offense.

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) and head coach Dan Campbell talk on the sidelines during first half action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) and head coach Dan Campbell talk on the sidelines during first half action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Ford Field Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.

Campbell has consistently said the Lions' offensive problems run deeper than Goff. But when he gave Goff a vote of confidence as his starter earlier after an ugly 34-11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in October, he said Goff was "going to need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders" and "step up and make some throws and do some things."

In the three games since, Goff has completed 64.2% of his passes for 604 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

"It’s hard to say that he shouldn’t be the guy right now," Campbell insisted Monday. "It’s hard to say that, man. Because, ah man, there again, every time we tried to throw it in dropback just about, our protection breaks down. And so, until we can do things right around him. Now, yeah, there’s throws we want to see that he needs to make. There was a dart that we threw to (Kalif Raymond) that he should make and he’s pissed off about it, too."

Injury update

Campbell said the Lions avoided serious injury against the Steelers, though rookie running back Jermar Jefferson could miss time with the ankle injury he suffered on his 28-yard touchdown run.

"He got rolled up yesterday, obviously, on the touchdown so we'll see where he's at. I don't think it's as bad as we thought it was going to be, but that doesn't mean that this isn't going to be a week or so or something."

The Lions play the Cleveland Browns this week, then host the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving.

Safety Tracy Walker (concussion) and cornerback Jerry Jacobs (groin) also left the game with injuries.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions notes: Dan Campbell sticking with Jared Goff