Does the Detroit Lions fate this season rest on a thumb?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Could a thumb injury actually derail the Detroit Lions’ season?

The thumb is arguably the most important digit on the human hand. And that’s certainly true in the case of the Detroit Lions, whose season might rest on one.

The thumb in question resides on the throwing hand of Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Stafford suffered a partial tear in a ligament in the thumb during Sunday’s last-minute victory over the Washington Football Team.

Stafford apparently suffered the injury during the first quarter of the contest and remained in the game, playing it out to its epic conclusion. That being a 59-year game-winning field goal by kicker Matt Prater.

Against Washington, Stafford didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects from the thumb injury. He was able to connect on 24 of his 33 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. The 32-year old veteran, who missed eight games last season due to a back injury, was only sacked once in the contest.

The fact Stafford was able to play so well despite the thumb injury for more than three quarters bodes well for his chances to start against the 3-7 Carolina Panthers this Sunday. If he is unable to play, Detroit would turn seasoned backup, Chase Daniel.

Yet, it seems unlikely the Lions would be able to continue their climb up the divisional ladder without Stafford considering the team lost every single game without him under center just last year.

Detroit Lions need to make up for early division losses

Sunday’s win made Detroit 4-5 in the standings, which is tied with the Minnesota Vikings. The 5-5 Chicago Bears are in second place and are set to take on the Lions in Week 13. The leaders of the NFC North division, the 7-2 Green Bay Packers, will play at Ford Field the following week.

Related Story. 2021 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions quick hitting 7-round mock. light

Unfortunately, the Detroit Lions put themselves in a divisional hole losing all three of their initial NFC North matchups this season. That included a 27-23 loss to the Bears in Week One, a 42-21 blowout defeat to the Packers in Week Two, and a 34-20 loss to the Vikings two weeks ago.