QB Jared Goff becomes fourth Lions offensive player to earn Pro Bowl honors

ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions have added yet another player to the Pro Bowl, with quarterback Jared Goff earning the honor on Tuesday afternoon. He’ll join center Frank Ragnow, right tackle Penei Sewell and receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at the festivities in Las Vegas later this week.

This is the first time the Lions have sent four offensive players to the Pro Bowl since 1971.

That’s right. Not even the great offensive teams led by Barry Sanders during the 1990s sent these many players to the festivities.

Ragnow made the initial roster on the strength of the player and coach votes, while Sewell and St. Brown were added as first alternates on Monday. A day later, Goff joined them as a third alternate, replacing Super Bowl-bound Jalen Hurts.

Goff joins Matthew Stafford as the only Lions quarterbacks to make the Pro Bowl in the last 50 years. Goff also made back-to-back Pro Bowls with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017-18, but fell on hard times after that and was eventually dealt to Detroit in 2021. Stafford had requested a trade to avoid yet another rebuild, and went on to win a Super Bowl the following year in LA

The Lions did well for themselves too, adding three draft picks to accelerate their rebuild, including two in the first round, one of which already turned into prized receiver Jameson Williams after some subsequent dealing. Now the other first-round pick is even better than expected too because of the Rams’ unexpected implosion this past season, sending Detroit’s pick all the way up to No. 6.

That’s good stuff.

Oh, right, and Goff reverted back to his Pro Bowl form too.

He got off to a rough start upon his arrival in 2021, but immediately began to play well after Dan Campbell and Ben Johnson took over the offense in the second half of that season. Then he hit another level while playing some of the best ball of his career this past year, ranking among the league leaders in yards (sixth), touchdowns (fifth) and passer rating (seventh). He also didn’t throw a pick on his final 324 passes, the fifth-longest streak in league history (and counting).

After Thanksgiving, Goff threw 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions while ranking among the two highest-rated quarterbacks in the league (108.9). Detroit went 5-1 during that stretch and won eight of its final 10 games overall to come within a tiebreaker of the playoff field.

Overall, a Lions offense that was below average for a half-decade climbed to the league’s elite, producing the third-most points and fourth-most yards.

“I feel like I am playing the best football of my career right now,” Goff said in the final month of the season. “I’ve played a lot of good football in my career, but I feel as comfortable as I’ve ever felt. I’m getting older, I’m understanding the game more and it’s just everything coming together a little bit.”

Goff’s re-emergence has solidified his hold on the starting job heading into a 2023 season where Detroit is expected to become NFC North favorites. That doesn’t eliminate the position from Detroit’s approach in the draft, but as general manager Brad Holmes has said, Goff’s performance makes it a whole lot easier to get worse at that position than better.

At this point, that blockbuster trade is turning out better than Detroit could have ever imagined.

“I just was always confident in him because I’ve been with him since he was drafted back when I was with LA,” Holmes said. “I just know how resilient and mentally tough he is, and I think a lot of it was me knowing all the success he had in LA I think that was kind of forgotten about a little bit when he got here. I think he was put in a very tough situation. We had a lot of injuries and we didn’t really have the weapons around him (in Year 1). Dan (Campbell) had to make a really tough decision on the staff offensively and make a change there, and he stayed the course. I’ve talked you guys about this at length, but knowing what (Goff) is made of, that’s why I kept faith, kept confidence, and I respect the hell out of him because I told him, ‘Look, we’ll hold up our end of the bargain. We’re being held accountable. We’ve got to put you in the right situation with the right pieces around you, stability on offense,’ and thought we did that. And I thought he held up his end of the bargain too.

“Think it kind of worked out. I never really deemed him as a bridge. I think everybody else did.”

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