Easy to say in hindsight, but Jared Goff wishes he had demanded that the offense stay on the field before Dan Campbell's fateful decision in the Lions' Week 3 loss to the Vikings. Much harder to do in the moment.
A little more complex than saying, We want the ball.
"It’s always hard because of course you want to be on the field, you want to stay on the field," Goff said Tuesday on the Karsch & Anderson Show. "We had gone for it so many times that game that there was part of me that’s like, ‘OK, he’s already got his mind made up on a lot of these,’ so I don’t really have to do much convincing with him on those. I wish I just would have had a better idea of what I wanted to run and had a play call ready for myself and maybe suggested something and we could have gone with it."
Next time -- if there is a next time -- maybe he will. Campbell said Tuesday that "it's still my decision" either way, but he likes that Goff "wants it in his hands." Had the Lions gone for and converted 4th and four from Minnesota's 36 with a little under two minutes remaining, the game would have been over and Detroit would have been over .500 for the first time in three years.
But Campbell opted for an ill-fated field goal and the Vikings took care of the rest.
"But again, we trust him, man," Goff said. "If we make that field goal and our defense makes a stop, we don’t have this conversation. Unfortunately we didn’t, but we trust Dan and Dan is always going to be aggressive. We love what he’s been doing, we love what Ben (Johnson) has been calling and we trust these guys. Whatever his decision may be is his decision and I support it."
Campbell -- and Goff -- invited further second-guessing by not burning more clock when they had the chance. On a drive that began with 7:45 to go and the Lions up three, Goff snapped the ball several times with the game clock running and at least 10 seconds left on the play clock. The extra time proved vital for the Vikings when they scored the game-winning touchdown with 45 seconds remaining.
Why not drain the play clock before snapping the ball?
"I’d ask you this, what if we run it down to one second and then we don’t have time left at the end of the game?" Goff said. "That would backfire, right? So you’re playing that dance of when do we start doing that, when do we not do that? And it changes game to game, to be honest. It depends on what their offense is doing, what our offense is doing, what our defense is doing.
"It’s typically around that four-minute mark when you do want to make that decision. Anything before that, you’re playing ball, because you never know what can happen. They could score a defensive touchdown, they could score a punt return, so you want to be able to leave yourself enough time if you do need it."
Other highlights from Goff's interview on 97.1 The Ticket:
On whether the offense can score 35-plus points a game: "We feel like we can and we feel like we certainly should every game with the firepower we have. But we’re not focused on scoring 35 a game. We’re focused on winning the game. This week, 29 would have won us the game. Whatever it may be, we will do that to win the game. I don’t believe we’re trying to set any scoring records over here."
On the potential absence of D'Andre Swift: "We’ll definitely have to do some things a little bit different, but we got players, man, we got guys that can step up. Obviously have a lot of faith in Jamaal (Williams) and Craig Reynolds, but Justin Jackson will step up in some way, I’m sure, and we’ll do some things a little bit differently. Swift is a great player and we’ll miss him, but we have guys that can fill in when needed"
On offensive coordinator Ben Johnson: "I feel like he’s kind of our best kept secret right now, so we’re trying to keep it that way. But he’s very smart, he’s very good at communicating, he knows what he wants to do and he’s very confident, and that combination leads to good things. We trust him and ride with him and love his calls. As a guy who's doing it for the first time, I’ve been extremely impressed by his demeanor on game day, by his decision making and just the way he carries himself throughout the week."