Updated October 30, 2023 - 9:14 am
No, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff doesn’t particularly enjoy coming home from road games at 3 or 4 a.m.
But 11:30 p.m or midnight is fine by him.
“I’ll be OK,” said Goff, generating a laugh from a gaggle of reporters stationed last week outside his locker at the Lions’ practice facility.
“It’s nice to get in front of the fans. You’ve had this one circled for a while, the Monday nighter in front of the home crowd. Should be rocking. … It’ll be fun.”
The Lions are hosting “Monday Night Football” for the first time since 2018, welcoming the Raiders to Ford Field in a reflection of the resurgence that Goff has helped key since his arrival from Los Angeles. They’re leading the NFC North with a 5-2 record — amassing a 13-4 record dating back to Week 9 of last season to emerge as a conference contender.
In that stretch, Goff has totaled 4,436 passing yards and 28 touchdowns against five interceptions, completing 66.9 percent of his throws for a 101.1 quarterback rating. That’s the exact same rating he had in 2018, when he stewarded the Rams to a Super Bowl berth.
“He’s had a really good career so far,” said Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots when they beat Goff’s Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
“Obviously, he’s been in two different places with two different schemes relative to what they used to do in L.A. Just a lot of respect for him. He’s a really good player, and obviously it’ll be a big challenge for us.”
Goff’s arrival via trade in 2021 coincided with that of coach Dan Campbell, and together they’ve helped construct a winning culture in Detroit: Campbell — 11 years an NFL tight end — with his authenticity and aggressiveness, and Goff with his experience and poise in the pocket.
A 3-13-1 record in their first season improved to 9-8 last season with roster upgrades under general manager Brad Holmes, formerly the director of college scouting for the Rams.
Their final victory last season — in Week 18 at Lambeau Field over Aaron Rodgers and the rival Green Bay Packers — foreshadowed their installation as the betting favorite to win the division.
Except for a 38-6 loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens, they’ve looked the part — riding Goff to the fourth-ranked total offense (377 yards per game) and eighth-ranked scoring offense (24.9 points).
“We know what we’re made of, but we’ve got to respond the right way and play some good ball this week,” said Goff, three times a Pro Bowler in his first seven seasons.
Helping the Lions respond should be an enthused crowd equally eager to shine on the prime-time platform.
Detroit filled 79.9 percent of its seating in 2021. It was up to 100.2 percent this season — good for eighth in the NFL.
“I can visualize. I know what it’s already been, and it’s been pretty electric,” Campbell said. “I already know the atmosphere is going to be unbelievable. And I know it’ll be a hard place for them to come in and play. Our guys are fired up about that.”