A week after facing harsh criticism for his team’s sputtering offense, Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff delivered a big performance, and a veteran lineman is standing up for his quarterback.

Following the Lions’ 42-17 victory over the Denver Broncos on December 16, lineman Taylor Decker took aim at those who blamed Goff for a recent rough patch. Decker claimed that Goff had been unfairly made the “scapegoat” for the team’s problems.

“Of course, we see that sort of thing. “It’s kind of ridiculous to see people using him as a scapegoat,” Decker told SI.com. “I mean, he’s played some fantastic football.” There have been times when we just need him to try to make a play, and maybe something bad happens. He’s been the same guy week in and week out, so I don’t think using him as a scapegoat was justified in any way.”

Ridiculous News: Lions OL Responds to Jared Goff Critics
Ridiculous News: Lions OL Responds to Jared Goff Critics

Jared Goff Leads Offensive Explosion

Though Goff had a rough patch during the season — with interceptions in a win over the Chicago Bears on November 19 followed by a career-worst 3 lost fumbles in the team’s Thanksgiving loss to the Green Bay Packers — he was stellar in Saturday’s win over the Broncos. Goff went 24-for-34 with 278 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Lions to a win that has them on the cusp of a playoff berth and divisional title.

After the win, Decker said he felt the criticism aimed at Goff was “ridiculous” given that it was the entire team struggling.

“It was ridiculous, honestly, I think. Because it’s a team game. There’s so many guys out there doing things. If I don’t do my job, it makes it harder on him,” Decker said. “There’s a trickle-down effect at every position. Just really happy for him. He was making some big-time throws, his communication at the line was awesome, his demeanor was great. I just couldn’t be more happy for him.”

Jared Goff Sounds Off on Team’s ‘Superpower’

After Saturday’s big win, Goff praised his teammates, saying they’ve developed a strong ability to respond to adversity. After losing to the Chicago Bears last week, the Lions responded with a win that increased their lead in the division.

“Our superpower is how we respond as a team, a unit, a group,” Goff said, according to Pro Football Talk. “As a group, we’ve faced a lot of adversity. A three-game lull in which we won one of three is not the worst thing that has happened to us. We’ve always prided ourselves on our ability to bounce back, and tonight was no exception.”

The Lions had a chance to clinch a playoff spot based on the outcome of the afternoon games, but they also moved closer to clinching the division title with losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The Lions now have a three-game lead over the Vikings and need only one more win or one more Vikings loss at any point to win their first division title in three decades.

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