Why Warner believes Lions' Goff is one of NFL's best QBs

Why Warner believes Lions' Goff is one of NFL's best QBs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers will face a familiar opponent when they play the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday in quarterback Jared Goff, who spent three seasons as San Francisco's NFC West rival on the Los Angeles Rams.

Goff, cast off as part of the Rams' trade for Matthew Stafford in 2021, since has led the Lions to their first conference title game since 1991 after ousting both Los Angeles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the 2024 NFL playoffs.

It has been a few seasons since Fred Warner faced off against Goff regularly (San Francisco did play Detroit in 2021), but the 49ers linebacker has noticed the signal-caller is playing "a lot better" since his California days.

"Not to say that he wasn't good when we played him back when he was with the Rams, but I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now," Warner told reporters Wednesday. "I think he finished top three in passing yards this season, and I think just the delivery of the football, his decisiveness, obviously with the amount of playmakers he has on that side.

"I think he's the one that's leading that group, and he's the reason why they're at where they're at right now. You need your quarterback to be the leader of the team and the offense, and get yourself in a position to be in a game like this."

Kyle Shanahan, meanwhile, believes Goff is playing like the quarterback he always has been since being traded to Detroit.

“I think he's shown some of the stuff that he did in LA," the 49ers coach told reporters Wednesday. "You go with Jared, he built for a number of years, especially, I think ‘17, ‘18, really ‘18. He played at MVP-type level. When they give him a good scheme, when he's got good people around him, Jared's going to always find the spot. He's as accurate as any quarterback I've seen. He can play at a very top level.

"If you sit and make things easy for him, he will gash you. I've seen it over and over, whether he's with the Rams, whether he is with Detroit. That's why he challenges you. You better be on your stuff or you can embarrass you fast."

The 49ers certainly hope Goff doesn't "gash" them Sunday, as they look to improve upon their performance in a challenging 24-21 divisional-round playoff win over the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. But history is on their side against the quarterback, as Goff has a career record of 3-6 when playing San Francisco -- all three wins came with the Rams.

It's sure to be a matchup of two NFC titans Sunday at Levi's Stadium, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. PT.

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