Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions had a remarkable roller coaster of a game last week. They started out beautifully, riding high up in the sky with a beautiful first series. Then Stafford was picked off. Then he was picked off again. And again. It was a typical game if you have been a Lions fan for any number of years. You start out with great hope but then have it dashed quickly with a series of bad plays and a loss.
The only difference this time is that Stafford didn’t give up and the Lions got the W instead of the L.
Which Stafford will show to play versus the San Francisco 49ers this week? The answer will determine the outcome of the game.
An inconsistent, forcing the ball in to double coverage Stafford could lead to another wild game versus one of the best ranked defenses in the NFC. The 49ers could easily get three more interceptions off Stafford if they know to put pressure on him or double team his best receivers when it is a pass play. Since their defense is so tough, a win in the final ten seconds of the game will not be so easy to achieve. It could be a heartbreak for diehard loyal Lions fans who were wishing for the miracle hookups between Stafford and Calvin Johnson this season and have yet to see one.
The tough as nails, never give up kid known for rallying Stafford could make this a close game. If he is consistent with giving the ball around to as many of his receivers and ends as he did last week, 7 in the first series alone, there is a chance Detroit can pull off the upset. Stafford needs to be controlled and not overthrow the ball so it gets picked off in the red zone. If Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler could just keep the ball in their hands, Detroit has an even better chance of winning this game.
Stafford got beat up and banged in stats because of the ugly bruise “3” in the INT category. What is overlooked is the fact he was the yardage leader for the week with 355 yards. (Drew Brees was second with 339 yards and a loss!) Stafford proved he will be able surpass 5,000 yards this season as long as he continues to stay healthy and his ends learn how to hold on to the ball.
The rest of his stats for week 1 include 32 completions on 48 attempts. His longest completion of the day was for 51 yards. He only got sacked once, but he only had one touchdown. Throw in the three interceptions, and his rating for the week is a measly 69.4. Stafford is capable of much, much better numbers.
In order to come out the victor against Alex Smith, who had a 125.6 rating for week one, Stafford will need to bring out his A game. And if you are a Detroit fan, start praying and hoping now that he does come ready to play. It is a nationally televised Sunday Night game and being the brunt of all the announcer jokes if Stafford shows up with his C game again will be no fun. The Lions are capable of playing tough football and just need to prove it this week.