After a fairly rough four-game stretch, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff delivered a big rebound performance in Week 15 against the Denver Broncos. Week 16 of course brings the first matchup of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, who changed defensive coordinators after last season.
Flores is well-known for his exotic blitz-heavy schemes and unconventional looks he presents to an offense and more specifically the quarterback. On Wednesday, via Ben Raven of MLive, Goff talked about facing the Vikings' defense for the first time this year.
“You’ve seen bits and pieces of it. I think it’s rare for it all to be in the same defense,” Goff said of Minnesota’s defense. “You see a lot of defenses try different parts of what they do, but for them to do all of it is impressive.
"Often times this late in the year, you have some overlap from teams you’ve played, so you’re able to carry some of the same stuff with you. But yeah, they do a lot of things different. It’s very unique and something that’s a challenge, but we’ll be ready.”
As expected, the Vikings lead the league with a 47.7 percent blitz rate (via Pro Football Reference). As Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted, Flores might consider that rate to be higher due fire zone blitzes he uses, where a defensive lineman will drop into coverage and be replaced by a blitzing linebacker or defensive back. A blitz is classified as sending five or more rushers.
As Dan Pizzuta of The 33rd Team presented, no one is playing defense like the Vikings this season. It's either send the house, or drop eight into coverage, with no in-between. And it's working, with the seventh-best scoring (19.2 points allowed) and the 13th-best yardage defense (316 yards per game) in the league.
Jared Goff has dismal, however short, history against Brian Flores' led defenses
Goff has faced a Brian Flores defense twice in his career.
In Super Bowl LIII, the game that seemed to tell Rams' head coach Sean McVay he needed a quarterback upgrade to win a Super Bowl, the New England Patriots challenged Goff to beat them with his arm and he could not do it (19-for-38 for 229 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, four sacks, 57.9 passer rating)
In 2020, with Flores as Miami Dolphins' head coach, the Rams made a trip to South Beach. Goff threw for 355 yards, fueled by 61 attempts, but he threw two interceptions, lost two fumbles and posted a 65.9 passer rating.
Goff's stark differences when kept clean vs. when pressured and when blitzed vs. not blitzed are not anything new, or necessarily unique to him. But via Pro Football Focus, here are those passer ratings for the Lions' quarterback so far this year.
Clean: 113.8 (3rd)
Pressured: 64.4 (20th)
Not blitzed: 102.7 (3rd)
Blitzed: 89.2 (16th)
Goff surely knows what's coming on Sunday. Flores will be coming after him with extra rushers relentlessly, unless or until he's forced to do something different.