QB Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions
|6-2, 225||Born: 2-7-1988||College: Georgia||Drafted: Round 1, pick 1|
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2015 Week 17 vs CHI (28 / 39 / 298 / 3 / 0 pass, 6 / 10 / 0 rush)
Continuing his hot streak, Matthew Stafford delivered again facing the Bears and finished 2015 strong. Wasting little time on the first drive, Stafford went deep to Calvin Johnson for a 25 yard hook-up. He then continued to work the field hitting five different receivers on five passes, finishing with a Tim Wright touchdown out of a bunch formation that created separation for the tight end. Later in the first quarter, Stafford and the offense failed to take advantage after a turnover, as the line collapsed twice causing back-to-back sacks for the quarterback. The second quarter's time of possession was dominated by the Lions and saw a heavy dose of Stafford and the pass attack. With the pocket collapsing early in the second quarter, Stafford hung tough and found Eric Ebron on an out route for 8 yards. On the next pass Stafford threw a perfect back-shoulder pass to Calvin Johnson 20 yards down the field. Backyard Stafford also made an appearance, executing a clever side arm throw around a defender to catch Ebron in stride and keep the offense moving. While he piled up plenty of yardage, Stafford was unable to score in the second quarter. Things warmed up for the Detroit offense on their second possession of the third quarter, as Stafford quickly moved the ball downfield. Using his feet to scramble for 12 yards, Stafford followed up his run with a bomb to Johnson. With two defenders in the receiver's vicinity, Stafford placed a pass perfectly for Johnson to work in between the two defenders and make the catch for a 36 yard touchdown. Later, Joique Bell helped pad Stafford's stats on a 36 yard catch and run with nearly all of the yards after the reception. Theo Riddick added another 18 after motioning out of the backfield for a short catch across the middle as well. On Stafford's final touchdown of the game, Stafford hit Ebron in the back of the end zone on a crossing route for a 1 yard touchdown. Stafford played another great game of mistake free football and gave Detroit a moral win to close out their 2015 season.
2015 Week 16 vs SF (29 / 37 / 301 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / 11 / 0 rush)
Matthew Stafford delivered another game of mistake-free football against the 49ers on Sunday, and gave the Detroit loyal a satisfying win in their last home game of the season. Stafford was able to take advantage of the defense and was aided by a hefty amount of yardage after the catch throughout the day from his receivers. Calvin Johnson and Theo Riddick were heavily targeted, while Golden Tate saw a reduced role. Targeted only once on the day, TJ Jones continued to flash his developing skillset when Stafford hit him on a 29 yard post route. The receiver caught the ball near the end zone, was hit by two defenders but spun and fell for positive yards and a touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Calvin Johnson was targeted on a high ball to avoid defenders. Johnson went up but saw the ball go through his hands. He was hit on the play and came up shaken and limping. Fortunately, there wasn't a significant injury on the play as Johnson went on to have an exciting second half. On the final passing play of the first half, Tate set Detroit up for a last second field goal after advancing the ball 36 yards on a beautiful fade route. Throughout the second half, Stafford had very little difficulty moving the ball for Detroit. With completions to six different receivers in the third quarter alone, Stafford mixed short and intermediate throws and accessed all areas of the field. Eric Ebron put his athleticism on display again as the swift tight end caught a quick out at the line of scrimmage and cut up field along the sideline for a 20 yard gain. Stafford's second touchdown of the game came midway through the fourth quarter when he found Johnson on a quick slant on the 1 yard line. A double move by Johnson left him wide open for the touchdown. Stafford failed to connect on a two point conversion when he targeted Tate out of the backfield. The defenders read the play magnificently and Tate was tackled for a loss. In the final minutes of the game, Stafford connected with Johnson for 22 yards. Johnson appeared to catch the ball and turn up field. He was immediately hit by a defender and went to the ground at the 1 yard line. After review, however, it was ruled an incomplete pass.
2015 Week 15 vs NO (22 / 25 / 254 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
The glow of Monday Night Football ignited the Detroit Lions offense early in this game. After an unimpressive first series, Matthew Stafford worked the field, targeting Calvin Johnson for a nifty 19 yard gain on a crossing route. A helmet-to-helmet hit added another 5 yards to the play, setting Stafford and the Lions up on the 4 yard line. After throwing away a pass over the head of his receiver on the first attempt, Stafford found Golden Tate on a quick out route along the goal line for a touchdown. Detroit's next series was short and to the point, as Stafford found Eric Ebron on a 4 yard out route to which the tight end turned up field along the side line for another 42 yards after the catch. Shortly thereafter, Stafford found his full back for the second time in the game for a 4 yard touchdown on a play-action pass to the right where the back was largely uncovered. On the next series Stafford continued his groove, utilizing several receivers to move the ball consistently. A big check-down pass to Theo Riddick for 21 yards followed by a short pass to Ameer Abdullah set the stage for another red zone attempt. Tate beat his defender on a quick slant for a 5 yard touchdown, Stafford's third of the day. The second half game plan for Detroit shifted with a lead, but Stafford continued to work the field and displayed a confidence unlike previous games this season. With nine completions in a row, Stafford broke his streak when he missed Ebron on an intermediate pass. Joique Bell and TJ Jones got involved on several passes as Detroit moved down the field, and Stafford executed a well-run bootleg to the right to find Lance Moore on the sideline. A coverage sack for a loss of 7 yards stalled Detroit as the New Orleans defense showed a renewed vigor in the second half. In the fourth quarter Detroit stuck to the ground for a good portion of their offensive series, but a few well executed passes ending with a near touchdown pass to Ebron as he fell at the 1 yard line of New Orleans showed a continued effort by Stafford. Stafford was crisp in this game - his passes were on point, he didn't have any questionable mistakes, and broke a Detroit passing percentage record on the game. He took sacks and threw the ball away instead of forcing it. This is the Stafford that Detroit needs heading into next season.
2015 Week 14 vs STL (30 / 46 / 245 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
While it wasn't Matthew Stafford's worst statistical performance of the season, he and the Detroit Lions offense's overall performance felt uninspired and lethargic. Missing from this game that was so potent last week were the deep shots to Calvin Johnson downfield. Johnson wasn't even targeted until the second quarter, and finished the game with only one reception. The ground game was moderately effective, but the offensive line allowed Stafford to be rushed, hit, and sacked throughout the game. While Stafford has mitigated the pressure the last two weeks by using his feet to escape it, the speed of the St. Louis defenders kept Stafford in the pocket and did not allow the quarterback to seek refuge. Stafford's accuracy was reminiscent of games earlier in the season, as he missed open targets in a wide variety of ways. A poor decision midway through the second quarter on a toss intended for Calvin Johnson was easily undercut by the defender and returned for a 48 yard pick-six. The lone big play of the game came shortly thereafter when Stafford connected with Golden Tate on a 17 yard out that Tate cut back in for an additional 20 yards after the catch. The play was unfortunately negated by penalty, and Detroit stalled after a blatant intentional grounding call before heading in for the half. Stafford was able to find some success moving the ball in the second half, mostly on play action passes to his backs (which has been a successful staple play for Detroit lately), and check-down throws that were churned for chunks of yards after the catch. Late in the fourth quarter, with desperation setting in, a collapsing pocket forced Stafford outside and he threw an ill-advised pass that nearly resulted in another turnover. Ultimately, Stafford and his teammates couldn't muster enough offense against a beatable foe.
2015 Week 13 vs GB (23 / 35 / 220 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 22 / 0 rush)
While the final result of the game was a defeat, Matthew Stafford delivered another positive week of production against a formidable Green Bay defense. Challenging the defense early, Stafford connected with 5 different receivers in the first quarter. His second pass of the day was to Calvin Johnson on a short crossing route that ended in a gain of 20. Stafford's second throw in Johnson's direction was a risky toss, as the receiver was double covered and the ball was nearly intercepted. A slight tip by Johnson inhibited the defender from making a play. On the next series, Stafford looked Golden Tate's direction often for 3 short passes that Tate was able to turn up field for additional yardage. On Stafford's first touchdown throw of the game, confusion on defense allowed Eric Ebron to scoot uncovered for an easy 3 yard touchdown catch. Following the touchdown, an interception on the first play for the Packers' offense put Detroit on the 17 yard line. Stafford wasted no time and targeted Johnson on a corner route in single coverage. The ball was placed high and deep for Johnson's hands only. Johnson tip-toed the sideline and brought the ball in for Stafford's second touchdown of the day. The second quarter was mostly controlled by Green Bay and did not see a score from either team. The Packers did amp up their blitz attack, however, and got to Stafford twice in the quarter. Later, Tate was targeted twice - a 25 yard pass over his head that he was unable to bring down, and a crossing route where he was bumped/blocked by a defender on a crossing route. The result was a ball left unattended and open for interception. Fortunately a nearby defender was unable to make the catch. Unable to find the end zone in the second half, Stafford continued to move the ball and test the deep ball, but was unable to connect as Detroit shifted to a run-heavy approach with the lead. Opening up the second half, Stafford found Bell on an 18 yard play action pass that Detroit has used with great success the last few weeks. A quick pass to Tate for 13 yards was followed by a 37 yard bomb to Johnson, who was open and ahead of his defender, but Stafford overthrew him by a couple of yards. Stafford again targeted Johnson a few throws later for what would have been a 25 yard touchdown. The ball was again off-target and Johnson was well covered allowing a defender to break up the catch. Sans Lance Moore, Stafford looked to Corey Fuller and TJ Jones in the second half. Both seeing some light action to help move the chains. A game-shifting play occurred late in the 3rd quarter with Detroit beginning a drive deep in their own territory. Julius Peppers had his speed and go-go gadget arms on full display as he whipped around a dazed left tackle and caught Stafford's arm as he cocked back to throw. The ball was fumbled and Green Bay recovered. The final quarter of the game was run focused, but two notable passes stand out. Looking Johnson's direction again, Stafford dropped a 33 yard bomb about one yard too far and just out of reach for the receiver. In the closing minutes, keeping a sleepy drive alive, Stafford found TJ Jones on a post route for a 29 yard gain, the receiver's third catch of his career.
2015 Week 12 vs PHI (27 / 38 / 337 / 5 / 0 pass, 2 / 13 / 0 rush)
The Detroit Lions made a Thanksgiving Day statement with a potent offensive performance on a big stage. Notching their third win in under two weeks, Matthew Stafford was on point and continued to change the tone of a team that has looked lost for much of the season. While Stafford's first three passes out of the gate were either incomplete or negated by penalty, the tide turned for the rest of the first quarter. Getting Theo Riddick involved early, Stafford found him for 23 yards out of the back field. After a drop by Brandon Pettigrew near the goal line, the quarterback connected with Golden Tate on three short passes and capped of the drive with a pass to Riddick for an 8 yard touchdown. In the second quarter, Stafford used the scrambling up field ability that served him well against Oakland and moved the ball 13 yards on two plays where his receivers were covered and the pocket was collapsing. Midway through the second quarter, after working downfield using four different receivers, Stafford found Golden Tate on a nifty play where the receiver motioned into the backfield, then ran a route to the right for a quick pass from Stafford. Tate stopped on a dime and cut back inside, making a defender whiff on the tackle for an easy two yard touchdown. On next drive, Calvin Johnson began to simmer, as Stafford found him on a 19 yard crosser and targeted him deep (albeit unsuccessfully, as the two weren't on the same page). The uncharacteristic moments continued, as a perfectly thrown ball to Tate hit him in the chest and the typically sure-handed receiver dropped the ball. Shortly thereafter, after a couple of nice connections with Johnson, Stafford found Eric Ebron on back-to-back crossing routes for 19 and 9 yards. After attempting to connect with Johnson on a corner route for a touchdown where the pass was defended, the pocket collapsed on the next play and Stafford was unable to escape the pressure, resulting in a 7 yard sack for a loss. With the first half ticking away, on 3rd and 17 from the 25 yard line, Stafford found Johnson on a gorgeous corner route. Johnson was double covered underneath and to the side, but the ball was placed delicately where only Johnson could make the catch in stride. In the third quarter, Detroit continued to strike while they were hot. Stafford seemed much more comfortable, and moved the ball with ease, utilizing his primary receivers and receiving backs to move the chains. Johnson and Stafford's success continued, as the Lions sealed the victory with two additional touchdown passes to the receiver. On the first, the quarterback threw another perfectly placed ball as Johnson ran a corner route from the 4 yard line. With a defender inside, Stafford placed the ball high to Johnson's outside shoulder, letting the receiver use his size and hands to make the play. On their next touchdown connection, Stafford threw a high ball over the top of the defender as Johnson ran a corner route to the right. By the time the defender saw the ball coming he was out of position and again Johnson used his size and hands to catch the ball on the side of the end zone over the defender's grasp. While some of Detroit's success was thanks to the Eagles defense, Stafford and company looked calm, collected, and determined. Stafford didn't display the typical poor decision making that he had earlier in the season, and had a complete game. Additionally, he nearly finished with another touchdown in the closing moments of the game as Joique Bell was stopped at the one yard line on a screen pass.
2015 Week 11 vs OAK (22 / 35 / 282 / 0 / 0 pass, 6 / 31 / 1 rush)
For the third time this season, Matthew Stafford finished a game without an interception. Unfortunately, he also didn't throw a touchdown. Stafford began the game by moving the ball with ease between the 20 yard lines. He spread the ball between seven different players, and completed a high percentage of his passes. After starting the game with five completions, the Detroit offense sputtered in the red zone. A well thrown ball to Eric Ebron in the end zone (for what would have been an 11 yard touchdown) hit the tight end squarely on the hands but was dropped. Stafford then forced a ball into tight coverage for Tate, but the defender knocked the ball away and forced a field goal for Detroit. On the next drive, Stafford again moved the ball well, but stalled on Oakland's 19 yard line. Stafford overthrew Ameer Abdullah on a corner route that would have resulted in a touchdown, but ultimately took what the defense gave him, including a sack which resulted in another Detroit field goal. The second quarter was less thrilling for Stafford and company. While he worked short-to-intermediate routes, Stafford found less success as passes were broken up, overthrown, and knocked down at the line. Stafford did attempt a 50 yard bomb to Calvin Johnson, but overthrew the receiver who was double covered over the top. Later, in the hurry-up offense, Stafford found Johnson for receptions of 21 and 36 yards. A grounding penalty as Stafford was flushed from the pocket and nearly sacked, along with a 20 yard pass that was overthrown to Tate, put Detroit out of range and ended the half for them offensively. The third quarter began with a broken up pass and two sacks on Stafford. Fortunately, one of the sacks was negated by penalty, but Oakland showed improved success at collapsing the line and getting to Stafford as the game wore on. Golden Tate had gains of 6 and 21 yards, both passes caught near the line of scrimmage where Tate used his speed and agility to tack on extra yardage. Stafford and Ebron again failed to connect when Stafford's pass was too far in front of Ebron and could have resulted in an interception. The fourth quarter was all about Stafford's scrambling and running back Theo Riddick's usage. Of Stafford's six completions in the final quarter, four of them were to Riddick. Stafford also managed 28 yards on the ground on only three plays. Two of which he fled the pressure in the pocket and headed down field. On first and goal from the five yard line, Detroit spread the formation with five receivers out wide. With minimal pressure on the line, Stafford executed a quarterback draw up the middle for a touchdown. Stafford seemed to respond better to pressure this weekend. He frequently escaped and threw on the run, or headed down field for positive yardage. While he did have several off-target throws, he only made one large mistake on a grounding call where he felt the pressure and didn't think before reacting.
2015 Week 10 vs GB (24 / 38 / 242 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Fresh off the bye, Matthew Stafford entered week 10 as healthy as he has been in weeks, and looked spry overall facing the Packers in Lambeau. Stafford started the game by finding very little success through the air. A mixed bag of tipped passes at the line, passes dropped by receivers, and significant pressure forcing off-target throws had Stafford completing only one of six passes in the first quarter. His lone completion was to Lance Moore on a comeback route for 10 yards. In the second quarter Stafford built some momentum while utilizing the playmakers of the Detroit offense. The continued attempt to build a ground game opened up a play action pass to Calvin Johnson on a slant for 13 yards. Ameer Abdullah got involved as well on a circle route for 7 yards out of the backfield. Increased pressure from the Green Bay defensive line disrupted the next few attempts from Stafford as the pocket was diminished, thus disrupting the play, and next a bad transfer from the center killed a play as Stafford was forced to fall on the ball. For the remainder of the second quarter (a good chunk in the hurry-up offense) Stafford and his receivers were animated and connected on several passes, including a screen to Joique Bell, a couple of tosses to Eric Ebron, and a 19 yard gain on a corner route to Johnson. A poorly overthrown ball to Johnson in the end zone stalled the drive in the final seconds of the first half. A 104 yard kickoff return set Detroit up with a 1st and goal situation to start the second half. After a failed run by Bell, Stafford found Brandon Pettigrew on a quick slant from the two yard line for a touchdown. Overall, the third quarter was a very successful one for Stafford. On the next series Stafford executed a beautiful play action pass on a fake to Bell to the right with a quick spin and throw to Golden Tate on the left for a 5 yard gain. Staffordís next four completions were a 15 yard pass to Moore up the middle, a 16 yard gain to Johnson on 3rd and 5, and two 13 yard gains ñ one to Theo Riddick out of the backfield and the next to Ebron on a crossing route. The rest of the third quarter is one Stafford would prefer to not repeat, as he followed up a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage for no completion with an underthrown pass intended for Moore that was intercepted by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. From Staffordís view, the traffic appeared to conceal the defender, but the poor throw was all Stafford. The fourth quarter was much more interesting than it should have been due to two missed extra points by Matt Prater. Stafford started the quarter with a tight pass to Johnson on the sideline. Stafford nearly had another turnover on a poorly thrown ball downfield that was well off-target, but fortunately was so off-target that no defenders were in the region either. Stafford continued to find success on intermediate passes to Johnson, Bell, and Riddick, some of which were thrown out of the pocket due to the absence of one due to persistent pressure on the offensive line. The most exciting play of the game came next when Stafford found Tate 5 yards downfield on a slant, in which Tate switched direction and used his athleticism to add 38 yards of his own after the catch. Shortly thereafter, Stafford found Moore on a 4 yard pass for a touchdown.
2015 Week 8 vs KC (22 / 36 / 217 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Matthew Stafford and the Lions made their way across the pond this weekend to face the Chiefs at Wembley. While Stafford was working under a new offensive coaching staff, the results were eerily similar to previous weeks. Stafford began the first quarter working short routes to Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and even getting Eric Ebron involved early. Things appeared to be working as planned on Detroit's first drive until the offensive line gave way to increased pressure and Stafford had difficulty adjusting. While Stafford and company were able to move the ball down to the KC 17 on their first drive, they had to settle for a field goal and gave the Chiefs a good feel for Detroit's weaknesses. Midway through the first drive KC began to apply increased pressure in the form of overloaded edge blitzes, secondary blitzes, and misdirection. After being sacked for the first time Stafford displayed inaccuracy and poor decisions with an off throw to Ameer Abdullah that was nearly intercepted and a pass to Eric Ebron that was off target. Entering the second quarter, after a short pass to Tate, Stafford underthrew Johnson on a 25 yard pass. On his next attempt Stafford threw a pass intended for Abdullah that was well in front of him and was picked off by the defense. A stern discussion ensued, as it appeared that Abdullah stopped short and failed to run his full route. Stafford's next four completions were to Johnson for 17 yards twice and Tate for 13 yards twice. The rest of the second quarter was a train wreck, as the line broke down repeatedly and Stafford was sacked three more times before the half. Stafford dink and dunked his way through the third quarter with minimal success. His best pass of the game was a well-placed ball in between defenders to Tate on a slant route for 15 yards. After that, Stafford was sacked again and started the fourth quarter with a four-man rush sack when 75% of his line completely caved. An opportunity for a deep hook-up with Johnson was missed when Stafford overthrew an open Calvin Johnson on the sideline by several yards. The two did find their connection a bit later on a 30 yard pass in which Johnson high-pointed the ball for the reception. Detroit's only touchdown of the game was deep in the fourth quarter when Stafford found Lance Moore on a 21 yard reception, much of the yardage being after the catch. Overall, Stafford was pressured more than ever in this game and was visibly bothered by it.
2015 Week 7 vs MIN (18 / 26 / 256 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
What began as a very positive game ended up a very long day for quarterback Matt Stafford behind a poorly playing offensive line, as he was constantly under pressure and was sacked seven times by the Minnesota Vikings. He also sustained a hand injury requiring X-Rays, which were negative. In the first quarter, things seemed to go Stafford and the Lions' way. He hooked up on a long 46-yard completion to Calvin Johnson and then hit Johnson again on a short pass two plays later for a 1-yard touchdown. On both passes, as well as a 5-yard completion to running back Theo Riddick, Stafford's ball-placement and accuracy were on point. The touchdown pass to Johnson was a great example of everything Stafford does right. He used Johnson's height and length by throwing the ball where only his receiver was going to catch it. Stafford also showed some good movement out of the pocket on Eric Ebron's 7-yard touchdown reception later in the first quarter. On the play, the Vikings initially did a good job of covering the receivers, giving their front line time to break the pocket. Stafford wisely swallowed a pass, pulled the ball down and fled the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield as he did. In the time he had to do that, Ebron slipped away from the coverage in the end zone and Stafford delivered the ball for a score. However, with the second quarter came more a more consistent pass rush from the Vikings. Stafford was first sacked with about ten minutes left in the first half, and then again with about six minutes left. When he wasn't getting crushed, he was still having to deal with constant pressure from the Vikings. On that second sack, by defensive end Everson Griffen, the defender wasn't even blocked and had a clear path to Stafford. Too often it seemed as if the offensive line was simply outnumbered and the result was pressure and sacks. Meanwhile the Vikings slowly caught up to the Lions and then took the lead, forcing the Lions to do more passing, which allowed the defense to just unleash blitzers on every down. By the late third quarter Stafford had been sacked four times, hit five times, hurried five times and knocked down four times (per broadcast team). This continued into the fourth quarter, until the Lions finally started to move the ball again although even then the pressure on Stafford was constant. The Lions should have had a second Stafford-Johnson touchdown as Stafford had his hand hit on a throw and the ball popped up into the air. Johnson, showing off his incredibly strong hands, leapt up and grabbed the ball away from three Vikings players. On the replay, it appeared as if he had control of the ball across the goal line, but the Lions hurried up the offense and didn't challenge the spot. That was a crucial mistake as the team failed to score at the goal line and turned the ball over on downs. They got a safety in the end zone but that still left them two scores short. If they had gotten that touchdown--or at least kicked a field goal--they might have had a shot to win the game.
2015 Week 6 vs CHI (27 / 42 / 405 / 4 / 1 pass, 6 / 37 / 0 rush)
Fresh off a week 5 benching, Stafford was fortunate enough to draw the Chicago defense as his rebound opponent. Chicago came into week 6 as one of the most passing friendly defenses in the NFL, and fortunately for the Detroit home fans, Stafford did not disappoint. Stafford's first quarter was dominated by four out of his five completions going for 20 yards or more. He capped off a successful drive with a 20 yard passing touchdown to Lance Moore. While he finished the first quarter with a sack for a seven yard loss, Stafford displayed a renewed vigor and confidence. A successful ground attack accompanied by deep throws from Stafford sustained the Detroit success into the second quarter when he found Calvin Johnson for a deep 43 yard reception and followed it up with a well-placed corner route to Tim Wright for a touchdown. After the second touchdown, things got a little more interesting for Stafford and company. A poorly executed pass to Abdullah in the second quarter was nearly intercepted and a controversial pass to Golden Tate was ruled a touchdown. Stafford continued to utilize the deep pass more that he has all season, and ultimately only made one big error on an awkward quick pass towards Theo Riddick in the fourth quarter that ended in an interception. Stafford exhibited accomplished accuracy and worked the pocket well. He avoided pressure and didn't force the majority of this throws. Seeking out Calvin Johnson helped his game, and he worked all areas of the field successfully. Stafford managed to come out of this overtime extended game without any big hits or injuries. He had a confident ability to drive the field and didn't shy away from targeting all of his receives and extending the field.
2015 Week 5 vs ARI (20 / 32 / 188 / 1 / 3 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Matthew Stafford was harassed and embarrassed by an aggressive Arizona Cardinal defense on Sunday. Arizona consistently succeeded in putting pressure on the offensive line, disrupting Stafford's progressions and throwing lanes. Stafford did his best to maneuver within and outside of the pocket, but the combination of pressure, great downfield coverage, and a game that quickly tilted in Arizona's favor had Stafford well outside his comfort zone. Things quickly went down the wrong path as Stafford appeared confused within the first minute of the game and used Detroit's first time out. On his very next pass he rolled outside to avoid pressure and promptly underthrew tight end Tim Wright for his first interception of the game. Stafford's next six passes were for gains of 9, 9, 18, 12, 50, and capped off with a 6 yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick. Things seemed to be trending in the right direction for Stafford until the next series - working mostly short routes, Stafford and company achieved two first downs before Stafford carelessly threw a screen pass towards Ameer Abdullah with a defender in between. The defender easily caught the ball for Stafford's second interception of the day. Stafford made up for a lack of tackling effort last week by cutting the ball carrier at the knees near the end zone. Stafford's second interception seemingly crushed his confidence, as the rest of his action made viewers want to avert their eyes. For the remainder of the second quarter (and a small third quarter sampling), Stafford made poor decisions, stared down receivers, was overly sensitive to perceived pressure, and threw inaccurately leading up to his third interception of the day. Stafford was then replaced by quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Coach Jim Caldwell made it clear after the game that Stafford is the quarterback in Detroit.
2015 Week 4 vs SEA (24 / 35 / 203 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense struggled to find a groove early, settling for a handful of first downs and a field goal through the first half of action. Pressured consistently, Stafford managed to avoid taking any bit hits but was forced to get rid of the ball quickly to avoid defenders. The Detroit offense did find some success in the second quarter, mixing things up enough to keep the defense on-guard and taking advantage of what was working. Stafford did finally target Calvin Johnson on a couple of deeper throws later in the game, but overthrew him on one and Johnson appeared to let up on the second, seemingly catchable ball. Detroit tried unsuccessfully several times to take advantage of the pressure with screen plays and circle routes to Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah, but Stafford saw three of those passes batted down by very alert outside defenders. He was mostly on target throughout this game, and didn't exhibit the off-target throws he had in the first two games of the season. He excelled in the hurry-up offense, and Detroit nearly pulled ahead with time expiring, but a costly (and controversial) fumble at the one yard line ended the offensive series for Detroit. Ultimately, Stafford made good decisions, was on target, and made a great final drive against a very formidable defense.
2015 Week 3 vs DEN (31 / 45 / 282 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
In Detroit's first of four prime time games, Matthew Stafford had the luxury of playing at home, but the unfortunate task of facing the Denver Broncos. Following a similar theme as the first two weeks, the Broncos put significant pressure on Stafford and the offensive line. Pressured often, Stafford struggled to adjust early in the game as Denver confused the line and gave him little time to work. Sacked four times during the game, the offensive line failed to reroute protection and gave up an unimpeded sack to DeMarcus Ware that resembled the San Diego Chargers game. Fortunately, Stafford avoided the big hits that were all too common in weeks one and two. Detroit attempted to establish a ground game to ease the pressure, but their success was minimal and the defense continued to pursue. While Stafford's overall accuracy improved, two interceptions were reminders of his week two difficulties. Off target balls to Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson showcased deficits that Detroit needs to be concerned about long term. On the positive side, Stafford continued improvements by speeding up his throws and utilizing Calvin Johnson and his skillset. Once again, Stafford looked Eric Ebron's way again in critical situations and found him on at least two crucial plays. Stafford's chemistry with rookie running back Ameer Abdullah continues to grow, as the pair connected for a 16 yard touchdown reception and Abdullah was involved more in red zone and 3rd down situations. Finally, in the final two minutes of the game with Detroit down two touchdowns, Stafford failed to exploit the defense as he rushed throws, displayed erratic movement, and Detroit did little to help themselves with poor clock management.
2015 Week 2 vs MIN (32 / 53 / 286 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 20 / 0 rush)
While Matthew Stafford cut down on his interceptions and increased his passing yardage in week two, he also threw nearly twice as many passes as week one with much less accuracy. Facing a divisional foe on the road, much of the week 1 concerns bled into this Sunday's performance for Stafford. Early in the game, Stafford seemed to be experiencing residual anxiety from the previous week's pressure, as he looked uncomfortable and jittery in the pocket. While he appeared to settle down as the game wore on, his accuracy took a significant dip in the second half. Some of this could be attributed to the front line pressure he was experiencing, but many of his second half throws were questionably under or overthrown to receivers. The season-long health of Stafford has to be on the minds of the Detroit coaching staff. Stafford took a concerning hit in week one that he was nursing during the week leading up this Sunday. Against the Vikings, Stafford was roughed-up consistently and could been seen in agony after several plays. Minnesota brought relentless pressure and did well at disguising it throughout the game, causing Detroit to struggle to assess and adjust their protection. Stafford did manage to find the end zone twice during his performance ñ late in the first quarter Stafford rolled out to find Calvin Johnson in the end zone and put the ball where only Johnson could catch it. A generous helping of sideline toe-dragging by the skilled veteran benefited Stafford immensely. His second touchdown of the game came after the two minute warning in the fourth quarter when the Lions were making one last push for victory. Stafford found Eric Ebron in the middle of the field, and a shifty move to the inside followed by a dive for the end zone resulted in a 12 yard touchdown. On an earlier potential score in the second quarter Stafford did a fine job reading the defense and working through his progressions to find Tate running a crossing route on the goal line. The toss would likely have been a touchdown, but a slight tip at the line of scrimmage altered the ball's path enough to disrupt the throw and result in an incomplete pass. As for turnovers, Stafford could certainly have closed out the game with more than the one indicated on his stat line. A poorly thrown ball behind Calvin Johnson in the first quarter resulted in an interception, but was fortunately reversed due to a penalty. On several other occurrences, poor accuracy or forcing into tight coverage caused the ball to hit or bounce off of defenders that could have reeled the ball in with better timing or hands. The irony of Stafford's one interception for the day was that it was a throw that a good majority of the time just results in a batted down pass; instead, the Vikings defender blocked the ball perfectly such that he caught it on the way down. Stafford ended up being the player who tackled the ball carrier after the interception, and subsequently was rolled over and then hit in the head on the play, adding further insult to injury. Detroit did shift to a no-huddle offense at the end of the first half, and then continued it into the third quarter. This seemed to suit Stafford while it was utilized, as it coincided with him settling down in the pocket and led to a notable eleven straight completed passes. Going forward, it's something Detroit may want to consider implementing more. It's worth noting that as of Monday afternoon, there is some question about Stafford's week 3 availability due to concerns about his ribs, chest, and elbow.
2015 Week 1 vs SD (19 / 30 / 246 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
The first week of regular season action for Matthew Stafford did not go smoothly. The San Diego Chargers front seven applied regular pressure while the secondary nullified any deep action to Detroit's top two receivers. Throughout the game, Stafford successfully utilized his running backs and tight ends in the short-to-intermediate passing game, and lightly peppered in the occasional target to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. San Diego took advantage of Stafford and rattled him early. On 3rd and four, Stafford's blind-side tackle blocked down to assist perceived pressure coming from the interior. An linebacker on the shoulder of the tackle was missed and Stafford took a sack. Shorty thereafter San Diego brought outside pressure from both sides of the line, collapsing the pocket and hitting Stafford as he threw for an incomplete pass. A game changing play on Stafford occurred in the first half as San Diego sent a linebacker next to Detroit's Trips formation on the right. The defender was unimpeded, leaving Stafford no time to react. Stafford took a big hit, sending the ball vertical to be caught at the line of scrimmage by a defender for an interception. In the second half Stafford was again pressure outside of the pocket. He rolled right and threw the ball on the move wildly under-throwing receiver Golden Tate for his second interception. He later missed Tate again by a margin, which appeared to be a miscommunication between the two. While he did find the end zone twice, Stafford was out of sync with the receivers and out of his comfort zone much of the day. Much of his stat line was assisted by yards after the catch from the short routes.
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