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Questionable choice aided in the Detroit Lions still being winless

To loosely paraphrase WWE legend Booker T, tell me we didn’t just see that? Because Sunday’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers was brutal.

And so we’re clear, that’s putting it kindly.

By now, most reading this are aware that the Lions-Steelers Week 10 matchup ended with a 16-16 tie. With Ben Roethlisberger out of the game due to COVID protocols, the Lions received some luck. It appeared the Lions would have a good chance to end their losing streak. Now technically, they did. But it didn’t come without its fair share of blunders and headscratchers.

And the biggest one is the elephant in the room ––the play of Jared Goff and the decision to keep him in the game. 

Once again, Goff finished a game without passing for a touchdown, keeping the Lions’ offense anemic––a word Dan Campbell once used to describe the unit. Reports are that Goff dealt with an oblique during this game, and it showed.

He finished 14 for 25 with 114 yards “in the air.” In the first half, he only had 11 passing yards. Eleven! His passing yards per attempt for the entire game were 4.6. If the Lions were to win their first game of the season, the starting quarterback can’t have that performance. 

There’s even some Lions history to back this up. 

Kyle Meinke of MLive.com tweeted an “accomplishment” by Goff after the game ended. Goff has the fewest passing yards in regulation by a Lions quarterback that played an entire game since Joey Harrington in 2004. During a Week 14 Lions’ 16-13 loss to the Packers that year, Harrington finished 5 for 22 with 47 yards passing. Being in the same conversation with Harrington for anything in Detroit is something Goff should avoid.

However, even with the injury, Lions head coach Dan Campbell and his staff felt comfortable keeping him in the game for some reason. 

“We all felt like he was good,” said Campbell. He was good enough to go. I mean, from him to Brunell to the trainers, we all felt like ‘you know what, okay, he’s good enough to stay in there.'”

From those comments, it sounds like Campbell and Co. wanted to roll with Goff because he’s “their guy.” Nonetheless, it’s questionable if that was the right decision. 

Backup quarterback David Blough is not better than Goff. Otherwise, he’d be starting. However, when Goff’s oblique injury hinders his play, it was a headscratcher to keep him in.

The Detroit Lions did not walk away with a tie simply because of the decision to keep Goff in. There are plenty of other reasons why, and there will be conversations at nauseating lengths about it. After all, it’s not like Mason Rudolph, and the Steelers played a great game either. 

At the same time, sticking with Goff did not result in the Lions’ first win of the season. And that’s what’s most important here. 

Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.

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