Jared Goff has not played well this season, but the Lions offensive line has not helped him.
When the Detroit Lions traded Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams added some draft pick capital to the deal to make taking Jared Goff and his contract more agreeable. Everyone knew what Goff was, with the shine of Sean McVay’s coaching unable to cover his flaws anymore over the last couple years.
Goff is unable (or he’s unwilling) to threaten defenses downfield. A thin Lions’ wide receiver corps, and his best two targets being a tight end (T.J. Hockenson) and a running back (D’Andre Swift), helps explain that. Goff is also not athletic and mobile enough to make plays off-schedule, when a defense might be starting to break down.
Goff took five sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8. He has taken 22 sacks in eight games, putting him on pace to shatter his career-high in sacks taken (33 in 2018) even without accounting for a 17th game this season. His sack rate (6.7 percent) is his worst since his seven-game run as a rookie with Jeff Fisher as his head coach.
Lions offensive line is not helping Jared Goff
There’s an easy case that Goff holds the ball too long, and he clearly lacks pocket presence. But the Lions’ offensive line has been without left tackle Taylor Decker (finger) all season, and center Frank Ragnow (turf toe) is out for the season after being injured in Week 4. Any offensive line without its two best players would struggle, even if rookie Penei Sewell has mostly been fine (except for a couple very bad games) stepping it at left tackle and Evan Brown has not been a disaster replacing Ragnow. Right tackle Matt Nelson is simply not starter material and he’s overmatched, including on two sacks he allowed during Sunday’s game.
Along with the five sacks he took on Sunday, Goff was hit 12 times by the Eagles.
Goff isn’t helping himself on the whole, and as a quarterback who doesn’t move or throw on the move well he’s an easy mark for opposing pass rushes. But the offensive line also isn’t protecting him very well, nearly at a league-worst level in terms of pressures allowed, which only exacerbates his weaknesses.