Sep 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire
So thats what it’s like to have a franchise quarterback. He can play the entire game like crap then in the last minutes of the contest he remembers who he is then takes the team on an 80-yard drive to win the game. No problem. There aren’t going to be many times when you have three interceptions in the first half and still win the ball game, especially when two of the three are in the red zone, but Matthew Stafford isn’t just any quarterback.
The Lions defensive line was great but this game was all about Matthew Stafford. In the first half, Stafford seemed to be channeling old Lion demons by throwing interceptions after long drives. The first one was a real back breaker and shut up the crowd in a hurry. Janoris Jenkins jumped on that ball like a seasoned veteran not like somebody playing in his very first NFL game. We were all stunned at that point but not worried because there’s no way Stafford was going to give up the ball again in the red zone after he hardly did it at all last season. Quicker than a Titus Young head butt, he threw another interception in the red zone. What the hell is going on here? Future Hall of Famers don’t throw interceptions in the red zone, they complete their missions. The third pick was a great play on Courtland Finnigans part. That interception would have happened to anyone. He left his man and cut in front of another receiver for the pick six. That’s why he’s paid the big bucks.
That didn’t seem to bother Stafford at all. Once he got his groove on in the second half, all he needed was the ball in his hands. Crafty Jim Fisher knew the best strategy against the high powered Lions was to play keep away with the ball. He almost succeeded with this plan. During the last Rams drive of the game I kept saying to myself “I can’t believe we’re going to lose to the Rams”. If the Rams had completed that last third down conversion, the game would have been over except for the Rams winning field goal. The defense held and Stafford started slinging the ball around the yard like he was playing in high school again. Did anyone doubt that he could drive them down into field goal range?
This Lions team doesn’t play it safe and sound by just going for the tie and hope they win in overtime. Nope, they’re going to come after you for the kill. Once Stafford found his old reliable friend, Calvin Johnson, inside the five you just knew he would find a way to score a touchdown. Stafford saw that practically the entire Rams defense was covering Megatron so he waited until Kevin Smith came open in the flat, took a hit from Chris Long and threw the winning touchdown. No problem. That’s how franchise quarterbacks play.