Stafford’s monster year obscured by losing
Lost in the Detroit Lions’ struggles this year has been the MVP-caliber performance of Matthew Stafford.
Indeed, as the Lions languished in third place in the NFC North at the season’s midpoint, with a losing record and behind five teams for a wild card berth, their 31-year-old franchise quarterback has been enjoying a career year. Through eight games, he ranks among league leaders in passing yards (fourth, with 2,499), touchdowns (second, with 19), passing yards per game (first, with 312.4) and quarterback rating (fifth, with 106.0).
Numbers like this put him among names such as Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott, all on teams with reasonable postseason expectations. Stafford is the exception.
Offense isn’t the problem in the Motor City. In Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., Stafford has two receivers who can make just about any catch and score with the best of them. Keeping the other team off the scoreboard, however, is another matter.
Probably most emblematic of the Lions’ season so far was their Week 9 loss to the Oakland Raiders, in which Stafford completed 26 of 41 passes for 406 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. But the Detroit defense again doomed them, giving up 450 yards on offense and four touchdowns to rookies as the Lions fell 31-24. Such is life with a “D” that ranks among the league’s worst.
Stafford and the Lions can be seen in action Thursday, Nov. 28, on Fox, at home against the NFC North rival Chicago Bears in the opening contest of a Thanksgiving Day triple header that also includes the Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (CBS) and the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (NBC).
Full name: John Matthew Stafford
Birth date: Feb. 7, 1988
Birthplace: Tampa, Fla.
Height/weight: 6 feet, 3 inches/220 pounds
Teams: Detroit Lions (2009-present)
Draft: Selected in the first round (first overall) by the Lions in 2009
Honors and achievements: Pro Bowl (2014); NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2011); First-Team All-American (2008)