Metric shows Lions quarterback Jared Goff has clutch gene in spades

Jared Goff does a lot of things well, and being more clutch than a lot of other quarterbacks is apparently one of them.

Try as he might have to hide it going in, beating his former team in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs last year had to be big for Lions quarterback Jared Goff. In the postgame locker room, as a nod to the Rams moving on from Goff as soon as it made sense, head coach Dan Campbell punctuated the moment by saying his quarterback was "good enough for Detroit."

Goff iced that playoff win over the Rams with a strike to Amon-Ra St. Brown for a first down late in the fourth quarter. That forced the Rams to use their final timeout, and three kneel-downs later Goff had his moment.

There are spaces to talk about, or even belabor, what Goff does and doesn't do well. We know those things, good and bad, even if some people want to ignore the bad or just dismiss the good. This won't be one of those spaces, but one metric that has surfaced shines a great light on Goff.

Jared Goff has clutch gene more than most quarterbacks

Football analyst Carter Donnick, using Sports Info Solutions charting, weighted 22 different quarterback statistics to calculate what he called a relative "clutch score." He didn't outline the full methodology, other than point out it's passing only and highlighting two particular tent poles.

  • Third and fourth downs in games where the score is within 14 points
  • Any down in the fourth quarter when the score was within 10 points

Goff ended up with the second-best "clutch score" (0.7003), behind only Dak Prescott (0.8547). Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit pointed out Goff's rankings in the following categories last season, which back up the idea he's pretty "clutch."

  • Fourth quarter passer rating: 102.0 (sixth)
  • Fourth quarter completion percentage: 72.2 (second)
  • Third down passer rating: 99.5 (10th)
  • Third down touchdowns: 9 (tied for 7th)

Goff was not very good on fourth downs last year (11-for-27 for 100 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, 24.2 passer rating. That passer rating was 35th among 39 quarterbacks with at least five fourth down pass attempts (Patrick Mahomes was last, for what it's worth), but Goff's 40.7 completion percentage on fourth down passes is not far below the league-wide rate (43.1percent).

This all combines to say Goff was more clutch than most quarterbacks last year. It's not overly surprising, but there is data, and an all-encompassing number was created, to show it.


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