A lot has gone wrong for Jared Goff since the former Los Angeles Rams quarterback lost in Super Bowl LIII, and new scenery with the Detroit Lions has done little to change it. But he'll get a golden chance to turn around those fortunes in a profound way on Sunday when the Lions visit the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX). The game will pit the subjects of the NFL's biggest offseason trade -- Goff and change to Detroit for quarterback Matthew Stafford -- in a matchup of quarterbacks whose seasons have gone in opposite directions.
Appointment television, to be sure.
Apart from a stumbling start for Goff in Detroit, even the way the trade was communicated was regrettable for Rams coach Sean McVay.
"Yeah. If you said, 'Do you think that the way that it unfolded was totally different than the way anybody anticipated?' Yes. Could I have handled it better in terms of, 'Hey if there's a possibility of it let's get ahead, even if you're out of town, yada, yada, yada.' So to answer your question, yes. I wish that there was better clear communication," McVay said Monday. "You don't want to catch guys off guard. It came together a lot faster than anybody anticipated. But yeah, of course. Anytime that tough decisions and things like that, where people are affected, you always want to be as understanding and as empathetic as possible and think about it through the other person's lens."
To recap, Stafford has been the toast of the Rams' 5-1 start, meshing cleanly with McVay's offense on his way to a 16-4 TD-INT ratio thus far. Goff, in stark contrast, has struggled mightily, as have the 0-6 Lions, who emerged from Week 6 as the NFL's last remaining winless team. The low point came Sunday in a 34-11 trouncing by the Cincinnati Bengals, after which coach Dan Campbell offered a "we'll look at everything" response to the question of whether Goff might be replaced as the starter.
Goff pulling off a road win over the Rams for the Lions' first win of the season would register as the biggest upset of the NFL season to date. A tall challenge to be sure, after he managed just 38 passing yards at home in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Bengals. He's lacking for help, to be fair, in working amid a stagnant rushing attack and a lackluster receiving corps. Following the trade, Goff said it had become increasingly clear to him that he was unwanted as a Ram, so it's hard to imagine there won't be at least a modicum of bitterness packed in his travel bag bound for L.A.
"I think Jared knows the respect that I have for him. I feel very good about the dialogue that we were able to have before he had gone to Detroit," McVay added. "He knows the appreciation that we, as an organization, that I have as a coach, for all the good things that he did here."
Stafford said he doesn't consider the matchup with his trade counterpart differently than any other game on the schedule. Goff, for his part, declined comment on the matchup altogether when asked about it after Sunday's game. If he declines to answer questions about the matchup this week as well, he'll just have to let his play do the talking.
And if he's to continue leading the Lions' offense, it might need to speak well.