Matthew Stafford hits 40,000: 40 memorable moments (part II)
Comebacks and coming of age in 2014
17. New and improved Stafford (Sept. 8, 2014)
After a severely disappointing finish to 2013, it felt like a lot was on the line for Stafford heading the Monday Night season opener against the Giants. It didn’t take long for the quarterback to show off a slimmed-down physique, increased mobility, and to prove that there were no lingering effects from the previous season’s collapse.
On the opening possession of the season, Stafford rolled out to his right, juked a defender with a Lamar Jackson-like jump cut, and found Calvin Johnson uncovered for a 67-yard touchdown pass to kick off the year. Stafford remained sharp all night, and the Lions cruised to a 35-14 win.
18. First win over Aaron Rodgers (Sept. 21, 2014)
Stafford wasn’t sharp in this one at all, but the defense came through in a big way, limiting the Packer offense to a single first quarter score in a 19-7 win. Stafford threw for 246 yards, but no touchdowns and three turnovers.
However, after losses in his first five head-to-head matchups against the future Hall of Famer from across Lake Michigan, style points are hardly worth mentioning here.