It is often said that the quarterback receives too much credit when things are going well and too much blame when times are tough. That saying fits perfectly with the reaction to Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Yesterday, I posted a poll asking readers to assign blame for last Sunday’s loss. I specifically named Matthew Stafford as an option because of types of comments I was seeing on twitter. The other choices were more general (coaching, offense, defense, special teams). As it turns out, Stafford received his share of votes, 19% at the time of this post. Is that really fair? I don’t think so.
Let me start by saying that Matthew Stafford did not play well and is capable of much more. Unfortunately, this can be said for the majority of Detroit Lions that saw the field against the 49ers. That’s the problem. The Lions completed comebacks against the Vikings and Cowboys with total team efforts and it was a total team “effort” that dropped them to 5-1.
Look at Stafford’s stat line. The only thing that is of concern to me is the completions percentage and the number of sacks. Say what you want about Stafford seeming unable to feel the rush but he was under duress all day. That led to five sacks (including a safety) and hurried throws.
He threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns and avoided interceptions. Those are numbers we should be happy with week in and week out. When he wasn’t passing, the Lions averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and gained 66 total yards on the ground while the Lions defense was gashed for 203 rushing yards at a clip of 7.0 yards per carry.
The Lions had some issues on Sunday and while Stafford may have been one of them he had plenty of company.