NFL

Lions 'win ugly' against the Jets to breathe life into playoff hopes

By Sports Desk December 18, 2022

Quarterback Jared Goff was happy to "win ugly" after the Detroit Lions beat the New York Jets 20-17 on Sunday for a sixth victory in seven games.

The win improves the Lions' record to an improbable 7-7 after beginning the season 1-6, and they are now even in the win column with the Washington Commanders (7-5-1) and New York Giants (7-5-1) in the NFC Wild Card race.

Against the Jets – who also fell to 7-7 with their loss – the Lions scored the winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining when Brock Wright found himself wide open for a 51-yard catch-and-run.

It was the sixth game in a row without an interception for Goff, who tossed his 23rd touchdown of the season in the win for his best return since his 32 in 2018. He also boasts the second-best QBR of his career, with his 62.8 figure also only trailing his 2018 mark of 63.6.

Speaking to the media after the game, Goff said the Lions have turned a corner and now have complete faith in their ability to win close games.

"A lot of these close games are starting to lean more towards us than they are towards them," he said. "And that hasn't always been the case around here.

"We fully believe in each other, we just know someone is going to make a play and do something right and that's half the battle.

"They're [the Jets] really good – they're one of the top five or six defenses in the league for a reason. They're really good at creating pressure with just four guys, really good at mixing up coverages, really aggressive. Both corners are really good, both safeties are really good – it's a good group.

"They challenged us for most of that game, and we're happy to be able to come away with it."

He went on to talk about the optics of the result, Goff insisting he is only concerned with the final score.

"You'd rather win ugly than lose pretty," he said. "There were times earlier in the year where we were winning pretty in certain situations, and then kind of let it fall away from us at the end.

"I think that's totally flipped to where we're at now. We've won some games recently pretty handily, but we've also won some close games, and some games on the road that we had to pull out.

"Things had to go our way – is it going our way, or are we making a play? I lean towards making a play… we're starting to learn how to win, and how to win consistently. This is a good, mature team now."

Head coach Dan Campbell made sure to point out the efforts of pass rusher Romeo Okwara, who finished with two sacks after returning from a torn Achilles last week.

"It means a lot to have Romeo back," he said. "Just to have him in the fold with us. 

"He's an unbelievable locker room guy, hard worker and then on top of that to have his length. He plays the run well and he can rush the passer. He was better than he was last week... and I'd anticipate him even better next week."

The Lions will have a chance to continue their terrific form when they travel to take on the 5-9 Carolina Panthers next week.

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