Winning cures everything.
In that vain, credit the Detroit Lions for gutting out a massive 19-7 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon in front of a rowdy crowd. Appreciate how the team did it, with a clutch, even stingy defense playing their hearts out while undermanned, and enough significant offensive plays to get the job done.
But don’t make the mistake of ignoring the obvious in the meantime.
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With three turnovers that were directly his fault, Matthew Stafford had another rocky afternoon. He sailed a pass high that went off the fingertips of Corey Fuller right into the waiting arms of HaHa Clinton-Dix. Later, his high throw into double coverage sailed over the head of Calvin Johnson and into the arms of Davon House. He also fumbled in a big moment.
Additionally, Stafford helped the team go a frustrating 0-2 in the red zone with misfires that could have helped put the game on ice earlier. The Packers were almost begging to be blown out by two more scores, but Detroit mistakes kept that from happening, allowing a dangerous team to hang around in a close game they had no business of winning.
Joe Lombardi’s offense is clearly a work in progress, but it’s not unfair to expect Stafford’s decision making to be consistent in the meantime. The quarterback still has to make responsible throws and manage the game better. He has to have the awareness not to take a sack in the red zone, and to have better ball security, regardless of the eventual outcome after the mistakes.
Joe Lombardi’s offense is clearly a work in progress, but it’s not unfair to expect Stafford’s decision making to be consistent in the meantime. The quarterback still has to make responsible throws and manage the game better.
Elite quarterbacks do have off afternoons amidst solid team wins and Stafford managed the game well down the stretch, but there’s trouble with this logic when Stafford has had so many rough days in the past in wins and losses. Two weeks in a row, he’s played poorly and seemingly regressed since a sparkling week one performance.
Boisterously, Detroit has a winning record and current possession of first place in the NFC North. Quietly, Stafford has done little to emerge from many of the shadows which have defined him and the Lions’ quarterback position in the past.
On September 22, it’s not yet time to panic about his play amidst a new offense, but it is time to once again turn a watchful eye to the quarterback position.
Regardless of everything else, that will still speak the loudest about how far these Lions are able to go in 2014.