The Detroit Lions win over the Cleveland Browns was deeply satisfying and a number of players are rightly receiving praise for their efforts. However, I’m not sure everyone is receiving the credit they deserve.
The quarterback hardly ever receives blame or credit in a dose appropriate with their play. Often they receive too much blame for the bad and too much credit for the good. When it comes to last week’s game and Matthew Stafford, I don’t believe he is receiving enough credit for the good.
Let’s think back a week. The Lions were coming off a disappointing offensive effort against the Green Bay Packers and while they were missing Calvin Johnson, a popular fan narrative was that a quarterback of Stafford’s caliber should make his receivers better.
Isn’t that what he did against the Browns? Calvin Johnson returned to action but he was clearly not the Megatron we have come to expect. No matter, Stafford connected with Joseph Fauria and Kris Durham for a combined stat line of 11 catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns on 16 targets. Credit Fauria and Durham for stepping up, but Stafford deserves a healthy piece of that pie. After all, if he was the focus of the blame for what transpired in Green Bay, he needs to be the focus of the praise for the offense’s performance in Cleveland.
Stafford is starting to get his fair share of credit on the national stage. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal slots Stafford at number eight in his latest QB Index and notes how he is making other players around him better:
Marc Sessler said on our podcast Sunday night that Stafford’s performance against his beloved Browns was one of the best games of Stafford’s career. I was dubious after checking the stats; 5.8 yards per attempt is in the Gabbert Zone.
After cranking out some quality time with Game Rewind, I can’t argue. The Lions dropped at least seven passes, some on beautiful Stafford throws. They are the most drop-prone team in the league. Stafford is quietly making the players around him better. Calvin Johnson wasn’t himself, Nate Burleson is long gone and Ryan Broyles isn’t ready. So Stafford is working with guys like Kris Durham, Joseph Fauria and Kevin Ogletree.