DETROIT — Jared Goff has been much more than a stopgap quarterback for the Detroit Lions since they acquired him and three draft picks from the Los Angeles Rams in a blockbuster trade.
After a shaky start in which Goff didn’t lead Detroit to a win until Week 13 in 2021, he has looked like a quarterback talented and savvy enough to have been the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft as he was out of California in 2016.
Goff threw 17 touchdowns and only one interception as the Lions closed last season with eight wins in 10 games. When they lived up to the hype with a 5-1 start this year, Goff had a lot to do with it, throwing for 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
Goff and the team, though, are coming off a humbling game. He had an interception, fumbled twice and was sacked five times in a 38-6 loss at Baltimore.
Goff and the NFC North-leading Lions (5-2) are hoping to bounce back against the Las Vegas Raiders (3-4) on Monday night at Ford Field.
“Had this one circled for a while,” he said. “Should be rocking.”
The Raiders, meanwhile, are welcoming the return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. After missing the previous six quarters because of a back injury, he was cleared to play in Detroit.
“Definitely excited to have him back in the lineup,” wide receiver Davante Adams said. “So, we’re going to go out there and try to make the most of every opportunity we get.”
Garoppolo was hurt in the first half of a 21-17 victory against New England two weeks ago. He was replaced by Brian Hoyer for the rest of that game and in last Sunday’s 30-12 loss to the Bears.
Las Vegas, a 71⁄2-point underdog according to FanDuel SportsBook, will need Garoppolo to play better than he has this season to have a shot at a desperately needed upset.
Entering Week 8, he had eight interceptions in five games to tie Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts for the most in the NFL despite playing in fewer games than the other standout quarterbacks.
“He’s not perfect, nobody is,” Adams said. “He’s done all the right things to make it easy playing with him as far as in the meeting rooms and taking accountability.”
To have success against the Lions, Garoppolo said, the key will be stopping defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
“Once you get that handled, then you can start attacking different parts of them,” he said.
Likewise, the Lions’ plan includes keeping defensive end Maxx Crosby away from Goff.
“He doesn’t come off the field much and is able to wreck a game on his own if you let him,” Goff said. “So, we have to do our best not to let him.”
Both teams will be missing at least one key player in the Motor City matchup because of injuries.
Detroit ruled out running back David Montgomery and offensive guard Jonah Jackson. The Lions are holding out little hope center Frank Ragnow can play, listing him as doubtful. They added standout receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to the injury report with an illness that makes him questionable.
Raiders linebacker Divine Deablo will be out of the lineup and kicker Daniel Carlson is questionable. Carlson practiced Saturday after sitting out the previous two days and will be replaced by James McCourt if necessary against the Lions.