Allen Park — Right as it appeared as if the Detroit Lions were turning the corner with a recent COVID outbreak, the team announced Monday it is placing quarterback Jared Goff on the COVID/reserve list.
In addition to Goff, the team also placed backup offensive tackle Matt Nelson on the list. They are the 11th and 12th players who have landed on the list in the past two weeks.
Goff is coming off one of his best games with the Lions, completing 21-of-26 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-12 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The COVID designation continues a rough month for the quarterback, who also battled the flu earlier this month and missed the second game of his career due to injury after straining an oblique muscle.
Additionally, in the game against Arizona, Goff had to be helped off the field after a defender landed on his leg, a hit that netted a roughing-the-passer penalty. After sitting out one snap, the quarterback returned to the field to a loud ovation from the home crowd, finishing off the touchdown drive with a 22-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Josh Reynolds.
“It was cool to be able to come back in and finish that drive,” Goff said. “I think up to this point I’ve learned you can’t play quarterback in this league if you aren’t going to be able to fight through a little bit of — not injury, but pain I guess. Especially for this team and this city, it’s important to be that guy. Knee hurts a little bit, but I’ll be all right.”
Assuming he’s vaccinated, there’s still a chance Goff could be cleared to return ahead of next Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Of the now dozen players the Lions have placed on the COVID/reserve list since Dec. 6, half have been added back to the active roster. That includes running back Jamaal Williams and cornerback Mark Gilbert, who were both cleared on Monday.
Center Evan Brown, safety Tracy Walker and cornerbacks Ifeatu Melifonwu and Bobby Price also have returned from their stints on the COVID list.