QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
HT: 6-2, WT: 225, Born: 2-7-1988, College: Georgia, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 1
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Average draft position
Current as of May 6th. [Full ADP list]Overall: P Garcon (56), M Wallace (57), Matthew Stafford (58), V Ballard (59), T Smith (60)
Position: M Ryan (51-QB6), C Kaepernick (52-QB7), Matthew Stafford (58 - QB8), R Wilson (62-QB9), A Luck (65-QB10)
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|2||at Arizona Cardinals|
|3||at Washington Redskins|
|5||at Green Bay Packers|
|6||at Cleveland Browns|
|10||at Chicago Bears|
|11||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|13||Green Bay Packers|
|14||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|16||New York Giants|
|17||at Minnesota Vikings|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Matthew Stafford had an extremely up and down game on Sunday that was completely marred by turnovers and silly interceptions that almost cost his team the win. Stafford started the game off looking well, being decisive and steadily leading his team down the field to the redzone. Stafford then threw a poor interception to the DB on a short pattern in the redzone; he simply threw without looking properly and the DB stepped in front of the pass for the pick. Stafford later threw a strike to his WR over the middle of the field but was unfortunate not to be given the credit of the touchdown as he was stopped on the 1 yard line. Stafford played with a lot of confidence on Sunday, throwing into extremely tight windows and was decisive with the football. He took to many risks however and often did not survey the field well enough before releasing the ball. Stafford was picked a second time as a STL LB stepped in front of the outside pattern and snagged it before it got to its intended target. Stafford was being too careless with his reads, was too locked into one receiver and trusted his eyes too much. Stafford got picked for third time on the sideline by CB Finnegan who undercut the route, broke off from his WR and read it perfectly for the pick 6. Stafford could have been picked a further two times but got lucky as the ball bounced off the defenders hands and fell to the dirt. He did somewhat make up for his massive errors by picking up first downs with ease and flinging a 50 yard bomb to Calvin Johnson to set up a FG at the end of the half. His second half was much better than the first and began to really put things together and connect with his WR’s. Stafford closed out the game late with a short pass to wide open RB Smith for the easy score. His performance was just good enough to seal the win but the careless turnovers have to be a cause for concern amongst the Lions nation.
Week 2 - Matthew Stafford had a tough time moving the ball at all on Sunday night against a stiff 49ers defense. Stafford was completely out of rhythm early in the game and had to contend with poor field position and virtually no running attack for the entire game. The 49ers coverage in the passing game was excellent and Stafford struggled to find an open target all night. The 49ers played with two safeties deep that prevented any big play from happening down the field but also managed stiff tight coverage in the underneath routes that put Stafford in a bind. Stafford’s first read was hardly ever open and he had a vicious pass rush to combat also. His interception came on a bizarre looking throw deep over the middle of the field. Stafford threw a very wobbly pass that was overthrown and easily picked off by 49ers safety. The Lions never established the run well despite their efforts and could not force the safeties to drop down lower to make it easier on the deep passing game. Stafford’s only real go to play was Calvin Johnson deep down the seam or middle of the field which was open occasionally and he managed to make this connection a few times. Stafford missed a few throws including an open Scheffler as time was running out but came back a play later to find TE Pettigrew over the middle for the touchdown near the goal line and threw a perfect strike into very tight coverage for the score.
Week 3 - Matt Stafford had quite an afternoon, until the end of the game. Completing 33 of 42 passes, Stafford totaled 278 yards and a touchdown. Stafford did not throw an interception. Matt Stafford is continuing to prove he is one of the best 5 quarterbacks in the National Football League. Stafford hit 6 receivers for at least 4 completions each, and in the second half used Calvin Johnson to keep the Lions’ offense on pace. Stafford showed the ability to balance the play calls with checks at the line of scrimmage. Much like Locker, Stafford only threw one or two passes errantly, and fell victim to several dropped passes. Stafford’s day was steady, but his only touchdown drive came in the 4th quarter. Down by one point, the Lions ran Mikel LeShoure 5 times, and Stafford capped the drive off with a 3 yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson. Looking to go up by a touchdown, Stafford found Burleson once more for the 2-point conversion. Unfortunately, Stafford left in the 4th quarter with an ankle injury. Stafford did not return, and was seen limping around the sidelines while grimacing.
Week 4 - Stafford began the day with a ‘free play’ from an offsides call, where the quarterback threw a long pass to a wide open Calvin Johnson and the pass was terribly underthrown, nearly picked off and drew a pass interference penalty. There’s the Lions’ season in a nutshell, because the Lions’ offense has been about as confused and chaotic as that play. Stafford was just off all day long, a little high, a little left or a little right of his receivers. Stafford followed that up with a scramble to his left during which he got back to the line of scrimmage, but should have thrown it away before he got hit. The Vikings got constant penetration and kept Stafford hopping on almost every down, never allowing him to get comfortable and have time for a receiver to get open. For the second game in a row, the Vikings brought physicality to the match which seemed to throw everyone’s timing off. He was clearly frustrated with his inability to get the ball cleanly to Calvin Johnson, though he tried often. Luckily, tight end Brandon Pettigrew bounced back from a poor outing against the Tennessee Titans and served as a safety blanket for Stafford, as did running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell. Still, the Vikings did a great job of limiting his deep reads and the longest completed pass for Stafford was just 26 yards and he was completely kept out of the end zone passing. He did score a touchdown with a stretching dive over the top on a quarterback sneak but it was a very close thing and he almost didn’t make it. While he put up some stats, Stafford had an unpleasant day overall under center as he was hammered and pressured all day behind an offensive line that had no answers for the Vikings’ pass rush.
Week 6 - Stafford struggled in this game, but came alive just in time to help the Lions win the game. To put things in prospective, Stafford had just seven completions for 91 yards after three quarters of play. Yet after running just six offensive plays in the third quarter, the alarm went off in Stafford’s head and he came alive when it mattered most. He completed 15 of his last 24 passes, including the TD pass to Nate Burleson and also ran for another TD in leading his team to victory. The key thing that limited Stafford’s upside is his poor throwing mechanics. At times he would throw the ball more side-arm than over the top, and he would occasionally throw off his back foot, lofting the ball more than throwing it with authority. To his credit, he has surprising accuracy at times, including the big 57 yard pass to Tony Scheffler in the 4th quarter when he was rolling out. The touchdown pass to Nate Burleson was another example – where Stafford threw off his back foot but placed it perfectly between two defenders where Burleson made an easy catch and was able to get into the end zone. Stafford also has Calvin Johnson cleaning up after him which doesn’t hurt anyone’s stat sheet. The TD run that Stafford had in the 4th quarter had more to do with play calling than anything else. Mikel Leshoure had been gashing the Eagles all day and when the Lions found themselves with 1st and goal from the 1, it made sense that Leshoure would be the guy to push it in. When Stafford faked to him and rolled out toward the goal line, the defense was nowhere near him. In overtime, Stafford was a perfect two for two. He opened the drive with a play action roll out and dumped the ball to Scheffler for a big 16 yard gain – similar to what they had done a few times already. Two plays later, the Eagles blitzed and Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on an inside-out route with a perfect pass. Megatron was able to haul in the pass and break itup the field for a big 17 yard gain to give the Lions the field position that they needed for the game winning field goal.
Week 7 - Stafford struggled in this game due to a relentless Chicago pass rush and stingy run defense that held his offense in check for most of the game. As with other games this season, Stafford struggled until the 4th quarter when he came alive, completing 14 of his 21 passes, including a touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles on the final offensive play of the game for the Lions. The problem with Stafford was that he was almost completely dependent on Calvin Johnson, especially in the red zone. When Stafford looked for someone other than Megatron, he was able to find Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, but Calvin was always his first option. Even near the goal line, when the Lions could have run it in, Stafford received the snap looking at Johnson and never looked off of him, either forcing the ball in or eventually checking down after the Chicago pressure was too great. His interception came after two incomplete passes from inside the three yard line. On 4th down, he was flushed out of the pocket and tried to force the ball into Broyles where it was picked off by D.J. Moore. Despite three red zone turnovers, Stafford’s TD pass to Broyles with 30 seconds left had them within 7. He just waited too long again to get rolling.
Week 8 - It’s taken eight weeks, but Matthew Stafford and the Lion passing offense finally looked the part, shockingly against one of the leagues better pass defenses. Trying to get his favorite target going early, Stafford’s opening drive looked very much ado about nothing. Play action on the opening play, with a look deep down the sideline to Calvin Johnson was nowhere near complete. However, after looking Johnson’s way again two plays later, there was a definite change in direction as Stafford began to use his other weapons. Starting their 2nd drive inside their own 20, Stafford quickly worked down the field. A dump off to Mikel Leshoure on 3rd and short to keep the drive going, Stafford then found a much more active and involved Brandon Pettigrew sitting down in the zone over the middle for six yards. Working off play action two plays later; Stafford hit Ryan Broyles on an out for 19 yards. The very next play, again as Johnson dragged safety help away from the middle of the field, Stafford hit Tony Scheffler deep over the middle for 20 yards. With Broyles lined up in the slot, with Johnson to his outside, Stafford again allowed Johnson to take the coverage as the two crossed and Broyles was left alone on the out. Stafford’s throw was high, but Broyles made a nice catch and run for the six-yard TD. Two drives later, Stafford and the offense would again find pay dirt. Much like his counterpart, Stafford used the roll out off play action successfully, finding Scheffler for 14 yards. Working off the line of scrimmage, Pettigrew worked the quick out and Stafford found him easily for the 18-yard pickup. Stafford again tried to work Johnson into the mix, but the incompletion left the Lions in 3rd and long. With the focus clearly on Johnson, Young easily worked behind the coverage and Stafford threw a 46-yard dart to the wide-open Young in the end zone. After stalling on consecutive drives, Stafford did a nice job working the offense down the field on the Lions’ first drive of the 2nd half. Opening the drive with a sack, Stafford used his arm to pick up the first down. First a quick screen to Young for eight yards. Facing 3rd and 11, Stafford hit Broyles on the quick slant for 12, again attacking the attention paid to Johnson over the top. Two plays later, Stafford again used play action trying to work the ball deep to Johnson, but smartly tucked and scrambled for 10 yards and a first down. Stafford finally found an open Johnson over the middle, but the throw was high and the resulting hit jarred the ball loose. Stafford’s best throw of the game came four plays later as he rolled to his right. Facing pressure in his face, Stafford was able to drop his arm level to sidearm, hitting a diving Young for the first down. Not to get too high, Stafford’s lone INT came two plays later. Trying to hit Scheffler on the post, Stafford misread the coverage throwing Scheffler further up the field as the TE slowed to avoid the deep safety coverage. The pass sailed right into Earl Thomas’ arms. The following drive, Stafford and Johnson were finally able to connect (their first coming in the waning minutes of the 3rd quarter) for 25 yards. After two dumps over the middle to Joique Bell and Pettigrew, Stafford used the boot again to easily scamper in for the TD from one yard out. Much like the rest of 2012, Stafford saved his best for last, working the short game to the tune of a 16-play drive for the game winning TD. Opening the drive with a 15-yard toss to Johnson, the two would just miss their first TD connection of the season later in the drive. Johnson ran a perfect corner route; beating the coverage and Stafford did a nice job of throwing to the open space. However, unable to work his hands behind the throw, the toss just grazed his fingertips and fell incomplete. The Lions’ final TD saw Stafford taking advantage of the attention paid to Johnson yet again, as Young was given free release off the line, quickly hitting the slant and Stafford delivered a nice low throw for the one yard TD. Stafford had his best game of the season, throwing more than 1 TD for the first time in the 2012 campaign.
Week 9 - Stafford’s day started rough due to dropped passes and defensive pressure, but in the end he turned in an efficient performance that was minimized only by the fact that the Lions scored all four of their touchdowns via the running game. Stafford completed just seven of his first fourteen passes, with all of his completions being of the short variety. The Jaguars were confusing him by mixing up their defensive schemes and his first option was covered on nearly every play. Three times in the first quarter her floated passes over the head of his running back in the flats and two of the three could have been picked off. Fortunately for him they were not, and by the third drive Stafford started to find a rhythm, mostly due to the fact that Calvin Johnson got more involved in the game plan. Stafford completed his last three passes of the Lions first touchdown drive, including a couple of well timed and placed throws to Johnson. The Lions second touchdown drive came courtesy of a couple of clutch throws from Stafford on third down. He perfectly placed an eleven yard out to Pettigrew on third and eight and then connected with Calvin Johnson on a well thrown ball down the left sideline. Johnson was tripped up at the one after a 38 yard gain, costing Stafford his first chance for a passing touchdown. Stafford found a rhythm in the second quarter, completing eight out of ten passes with nearly every thrown timed perfectly. At the start of the fourth quarter he threw a perfect pass to a wide open Titus Young in the left corner of the end zone, but Young dropped the pass. That would prove to be Stafford’s last opportunity at a touchdown pass, but his accuracy and connection with Johnson were encouraging signs.
Week 10 - Matthew Stafford has a reputation as being an elite quarterback, but today he looked like a player who was reliant on his superstar wide receiver. Stafford's accuracy was erratic all day and he only achieved any real consistency when he was throwing to the huge catch radius of Calvin Johnson. He never really got in rhythm from the off. His first few passes included a wildly overthrown pass to the sidelines, a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and a number of good decisions but inaccurate passes that led to incompletions. Eventually, Stafford's recklessness with the football caught up with him. On third and 10, throwing from deep in his own territory, Stafford lazily tried to throw the ball to Brandon Pettigrew who was running across the field toward the sideline. Stafford never set his feet and the ball sailed into the hands of Chad Greenway. He padded his statistics with late drives against prevent defenses and big plays from Calvin Johnson, but two of his touchdowns were to open receivers and the third was a screen pass to Calvin Johnson. Stafford put up numbers, but not a performance.
Week 11 - Matthew Stafford didn’t have a great game, but his struggles to get anyone else besides Calvin Johnson involved in the offense continued. While Stafford tried to target Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler to mix things up, most of those passes were for short gains or were completely off target in the case of Scheffler. Of Stafford’s first seven passes, two were caught for just one yard. When you start out like that, it’s hard to get a rhythm going. But Stafford kept plugging away, and on his next pass, he rolled out to his right and found Calvin Johnson deep down the right side of the field for a huge 53 yard gain. It was the longest pass of the day for either team. But Stafford would complete three more passes to Johnson for more than 20 yards, including the 25 yard TD pass that was nearly intercepted. Stafford also had passes of 27 and 24 yards to Broyles and Titus Young late in the game that set up the field goal to put the Lions up by six. Unfortunately it would not be enough, and seven of Stafford’s last eight passes were incomplete (the final one being the 30 yard completion to Calvin Johnson when the Packers were in prevent defense, just trying to keep the Lions from scoring). Five sacks didn’t help his cause, although in two cases, Stafford just couldn’t find an open receiver and basically ate the ball rather than throw it away. He also had two plays where he just tucked the ball and ran. Both were for six yards and both were for first downs. His first interception was a telegraphed side-arm pass and the second one was a pass that Tony Scheffler should have caught but he tipped it right to the defender who returned it for a pick-six.
Week 12 - The Lions threw the ball 61 times against the Texans in their overtime contest on Thanksgiving. Matthew Stafford completed 50% of his passes for a respectable 7.22 yards per attempt. However, he did not look comfortable in the pocket in facing the Texans pass rush. He had at least thee balls batted at the line of scrimmage (including two by JJ Watt) and had a number of throws off of his back foot or where he otherwise appeared to not be set. His two touchdowns came in different ways. He threw a deep pass to Calvin Johnson that carried just over the heads of two Texan defenders for a 22 yard score. He also threw a five yard touchdown to Mike Thomas on an excellent pass. On the play, Thomas lined up to the left side and ran an in-route to the middle of the endzone. Facing a heavy pass-rush, Stafford backpeddled to the 12 yard line before throwing a hard pass through the defense to the streaking Thomas. Stafford's best pass came on a play in the second quarter. Upon taking the snap, he rolled out to the right and threw the ball side arm to Brandon Pettigrew resulting in a first and goal situation that the Lions would capitalize on shortly thereafter. Stafford was sacked on third and seven late in the fourth quarter, taking the Lions out of field goal range which would have likely won the game.
Week 13 - Matthew Stafford played well enough to win on Sunday but his defense gave up too many plays late in the game which sealed the victory for the Colts. Stafford employed typical use of his side arm delivery on many throws, which decreases accuracy but seems to be used for a quicker delivery that can avoid defenders hands when they jump high to bat the ball down. Stafford hit TE Scheffler on a perfect pass down the sideline, getting it just in bounds enough for Scheffler to drag his feet to keep the catch alive. Stafford then hit TE Pettigrew on a post route in the endzone for the touchdown, placing the ball just high enough for his tall TE to snag the pass away from the defender who had his back turned. Stafford used many roll outs and scrambled out of the pocket to avoid the pass rush from Indianapolis. Stafford did find WR Thomas in the endzone on a short curl route but Thomas dropped the touchdown unfortunately. Stafford also had one turnover as he failed to see OLB Mathis drop into coverage as he picked off a pass to the outside. Stafford leaned heavily on WR Johnson for most of this game and showed incredible chemistry with in stride throws for most of the game. Stafford’s biggest play came on a rollout as he bought a lot of time for his WR to uncover deep down the field and hit Johnson on a post route for the touchdown. Stafford very little running game to work with and was merely a few first downs short of winning the game on Sunday, being let down by his defense.
Week 14 - The Lions' opening drive was reliant on the run, but after milking over seven and a half seconds off of the clock, Stafford was the one to punch it in the endzone on a play-action bootleg designed run into the endzone. The Packers' defense completely bought the fake to Mikel Leshoure. Stafford showed great composure and control in the early stages of this game, even if he was primarily just complementing the running game. However, in the second quarter the elements effected Stafford and he fumbled the ball when he tried to throw it with no defenders around him. To compound the mistake, Stafford couldn't fall on the football despite having the first chance. Instead, the ball was picked up by a defensive lineman and run the other way for an easy touchdown. Stafford soon after threw his first interception as a miscommunication between he and Kris Durham led to Stafford throwing the ball straight to Sam Shields down the field. After throwing erraticly throughout the game, Stafford nearly threw a game sealing interception to Shields again when he underthrew a pass straight to the outstretched hands of the cornerback deep down the field. Stafford was now forcing the game with his team down by 10 and under five minutes to go. He lofted a pass to the sidelines that should have been intercepted by rookie Casey Heyward. Stafford made many mistakes on a day when he lost his number one tight end and the offense revolved around the running game for much of the first half. He did throw one, very easy, touchdown pass at the goalline early in the game, but couldn't make the plays late on to win the game.
Week 15 - The Cardinals defense did not make things easy for Stafford and the passing game as they played well at home this week. Outside of his throws to Calvin Johnson, Stafford was just 14-of-33 for 125 yards. Even with Johnson’s productive day against the generally tight coverage of Patrick Peterson, Stafford was one of this week’s big disappointments at the quarterback position. The Lions offense totaled just 34 yards in the first quarter and even took a lead with an impressive 11-play touchdown drive early in the second quarter to go up 7-0. Stafford nearly lead another scoring drive in the second quarter, but penalties and missing open receivers plagued him. In the second quarter alone, Stafford had two ugly interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and the other inside the 5-yard line that staked Arizona to a 21-7 halftime advantage. Stafford stared down Tony Scheffler where the safety was able to break in front of the receiver and he overthrew Calvin Johnson on a double move on the two turnovers. It was apparent that Stafford was not comfortable throwing to targets other than Calvin Johnson throughout the game. He threw over the wrong shoulder to Tony Scheffler on a missed opportunity down the seam on one occasion and had some timing issues with Kris Durham as well. As the Lions trailed in the second half, they were prone to mistakes that killed their momentum on potential scoring drives. A rare gorgeous throw to an elevating Kris Durham in the end zone was wiped away with a delay of game penalty. The Lions’ last attempt to get back into the game was thwarted by a horrible throw by Stafford at the goal line. It was between Scheffler running an out route and Durham on the fade route. The defensive back was the only player in the area playing the ball and took it the other way for a game-clinching touchdown return. Stafford was not able to benefit from garbage time in the closing minutes as the team punted with a little more than two minutes to play. In 11-of-14 games this season, Stafford has attempted 40+ passes and this was his lowest yardage total despite 50 passes. In addition, Stafford has thrown an interception in 10 games, including 8-of-10 since Detroit’s bye week. The Falcons and Bears offer significant challenges despite both games being at home to close the season.
Week 16 - Matthew Stafford’s frustrating 2012 campaign is almost over. When he wasn’t peppering Calvin Johnson with targets, Stafford attempted to create plays with practice squad receivers. Detroit has a tendency to fall into early deficits, so Stafford’s 56 pass attempts are indicative of this trend. Stafford was extremely efficient during the first half, nearly matching Matt Ryan by completing 15 of 19 passes for 181 yards. However, Stafford failed to find the end zone and faced a 21-6 deficit. Calvin Johnson was responsible for 117 first half yards, so Stafford continued to feed him the ball. After halftime, Stafford completed 10 of first 11 pass attempts and cut Atlanta’s lead to five. Stafford made the necessary halftime adjustments and began working the middle of the field. Detroit moved Johnson into the slot and he began abusing undersized corners. However, Atlanta responded with a score of their own and Stafford began forcing the ball to Johnson. Asante Samuel intercepted an errant pass that effectively ended Detroit’s comeback.
During the fourth quarter, Stafford completed a 25-yard pass to Johnson which broke Jerry Rice’s single season receiving record. Atlanta played soft zone coverage for the rest of the game, so Stafford completed numerous short check down passes. Joique Bell was the main beneficiary. All yards count, but Stafford padded his stats with over 100 ‘garbage time’ passing yards.
Matthew Stafford set an NFL record by throwing for 443 yards without registering a touchdown.
Week 17 - Stafford set an NFL record with 727 passing attempts for the season. He padded those stats with 42 more attempts in this game, but his turnovers are with ultimately cost the Lions the game. Late in the first quarter, while he was under pressure, Stafford held the ball too low and the Bears knocked it out of his hands. Julius Peppers recovered the fumble and Stafford made the tackle, saving a TD return touchdown. In the third quarter, Stafford was in shotgun and tried to hand the ball off to Mikel Leshoure but the ball was too nigh and Leshoure didn’t receive it properly. The Bears recovered there too. The Bears scored 10 points off both of those turnovers. The Interception that Stafford threw was just a bad play – where Stafford was under pressure and just threw up a pass toward Tony Scheffler down the left sideline. The ball was well overthrown and Tim Jennings easily made the interception. He ran it back for 31 yards and the Bears had another three points off that turnover as well. But Stafford kept plugging away, and his three TD passes in the final 30:20 seconds were good throws. At the end of the second quarter, Stafford found Kris Durham in a nice slot down the left side of the field for a 25 yard TD catch to bring the Lions to within 10 points just before half time. On their opening drive of the third quarter, Stafford found Will Heller in the end zone on a 10 yard square in that pulled the Lions to within three points. Late in the 4th, Stafford made two key throws to Brian Robiskie and it brought Detroit to within a field goal of pulling an upset. However, he was unable to get anything going after the Lions got the ball back and the Lions eventually lost the game. To his credit, Stafford avoided locking into Calvin Johnson like he has been known to do at different points this season. In fact, Calvin had just one target in the 4th quarter, and Stafford targeted five other guys as he tried to bring the Lions back for a come-from-behind victory. It will be interesting to see how well he can play next season if the Lions can get any solid help for Calvin Johnson on the other side of the field.