Gritty Jared Goff earns admirers in Detroit Lions' loss to San Francisco 49ers

DETROIT, Mich. -- Trailing 38-10 midway through the third quarter, Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift liked what he saw from quarterback Jared Goff.

“Confidence. I mean, he’s a natural born leader,” Swift said. “Type of guy you love playing next to. In times like that, I like to look in guys’ eyes and see who I’m standing next to, who I’m going to war with. No fear in nobody’s eyes on that field [today], so I’ll go to war with anybody on that team.”

Although the game ended in a 41-33 loss, Goff left Ford Field having earned newfound respect in the Lions' locker room.

Goff completed 38 of 57 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns in his Lions debut. But a second-quarter pick-six proved costly, turning a manageable 11-point deficit into a 28-10 49ers lead. But the grit Goff showed once things looked lost was exactly what first-year Lions coach Dan Campbell hopes to see from his new team.

Trailing 41-17 late in the fourth, Goff led the Lions on touchdown drives of 86 and 59 yards. Although the comeback attempt fell short, the former Rams quarterback raised his performance in the final quarter, completing 19 of 25 passes.

“That was one we all wish he would have had back. I’m sure he does too,” Campbell said of Goff’s interception. “He just kind of hung on [T.J.] Hockenson too long and it bit us in the ass. But, all in all, look, when you put 57 passes on a guy relative to the way the game was going, he gave us a chance to come back.

“I’ll say that. And I do believe, all the way to the end, man, he gave us a chance at the end of the game,” Campbell added. “You’d like to believe that we if we could keep ourselves out of that situation, your odds of winning are even better.”

Goff certainly isn’t parading around his Week 1 performance, but the late comeback push did offer some encouragement for a season in which not much is expected from the Lions.

“I think you found out who we are and it’s not a moral victory and it’s not something that we’re necessarily proud of, but it is something that is good to know,” Goff said. “It’s not going to be the last time that we’re down in a game.

"It’s encouraging to know who we are," he added.