Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff tried to dismiss the "revenge game" angle heading into Sunday night's Wild Card Round game against his former team, the Los Angeles Rams. But when it came down to it, he could not hide the chip that was on his shoulder when ESPN's Eric Woodyard asked if he still had it a couple years after being traded.
"Of course," Goff said. "I think it'll never leave me, and I think that's a good thing."
Goff also could not quite hide any lingering personal angle with Rams' head coach Sean McVay.
"Obviously, we had our differences there at the end, but he's a great coach....." Goff said of McVay. "He's a guy that taught me a lot."
Goff would not be human if he didn't take his sudden departure from the Rams personally, and want to beat his former team and coach in a playoff game.
Goff was going to be a clear x-factor for the Lions on Sunday night, with a clean performance from him absolutely critical to the team's chances to win.
Jared Goff defined his moment in Lions' win over the Rams
The Lions scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives Sunday night, as Goff completed his first 10 passes of the game, and he went 16-for-18 for 194 yards and a touchdown in the first half, on his way to finishing 22-for-27 for 277 yards with that one touchdown and a 121.8 passer rating.
But the Detroit offense scored just three points in the second half. The defense holding the Rams to three field goals in the red zone was huge.
Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Lions had 2nd-and-9 with the chance to ice the game with a first down. Running the ball a couple times could have gotten it done. But instead, a pass play was called and Goff made a clutch throw to Amon-Ra St. Brown (who else?) for 11 yards to set up victory formation as the Lions won their first playoff game since the 1991 season.
Oddly enough, the Lions had never won a Wild Card game, having gone 0-for-9 previously.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the game still in the balance, was a defining moment for Goff in a game that was going to be etched into his legacy as a Detroit Lion no matter which way it went. He stepped up in the clutch, defined the moment for himself (and the team) while creating a memorable moment for Detroit and long-suffering Lions' fans.