Matthew Stafford Is The Most Reliable Quarterback In The NFL
By Jacob Slocum
Since being drafted first overall in 2009, Matthew Stafford has been so good, he has erased names like Scott Mitchell, Jon Kitna, and (deep breath) Joey Harrington from the minds of Lions fans everywhere. Stafford has not just been one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the league, he has been the best Lions quarterback in the history of the organization.
And it’s not even close.
Since entering the league, Stafford has passed for 29,200 yards, almost 14,000 more yards than the second most passer Bobby Layne, 66 more touchdowns than anyone else, and the best passer rating despite throwing 2,000 more passes than any other quarterback to ever put on the silver and blue.
This year has been no exception with Stafford throwing 21 touchdowns, 3,224 yards, and a rating of 100.5, all good for top 10 among quarterbacks while leading the Lions to an 8-4 record and is currently sitting atop the NFC North despite a lackluster 1-3 start including losses to divisional opponents the Green Bay Packers and the dumpster fire that has been this years’ Chicago Bears.
What makes this more impressive? Matthew Stafford has been having statistically one of the best years of his career without all-universe wide receiver Calvin Johnson to work with this year after retiring in the off-season. Stafford has posted career highs in completion percentage (67.2%) and passer rating (100.5), career lows in interceptions (5 through week 13), and an unprecedented 7 wins engineered while trailing at some point during the fourth quarter bringing Stafford’s total fourth quarter comeback wins to 24, good for 7th among all active quarterbacks.
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Matthew Stafford’s success has been largely in part because of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter who took over for Joe Lombardi following a 1-6 start last year. Since then, the magic between Stafford and Cooter has really shown, going 14-6 over that stretch , throwing 40 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions and compiling a passer rating of 99.6. Compared to the 13:11 touchdown to interception ratio through the first eight games of 2015 and a passer rating of 85.5.
With a two game lead in the division going into Week 14, the Lions will surely have to rely on Stafford to continue his play in order to stay in playoff contention. With road games against the Giants and Cowboys and home games against divisional rivals Green Bay and Chicago, the road to winning the NFC North for the first time since 1993 takes the Lions through the toughest four game stretch of the season.