A weekly analysis of the Lions’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Matthew Stafford’s biggest play might not have been a pass Sunday against Cleveland, but rather a run that was capped off with a penalty. His scramble-and-spike on a first down during the first drive of the third quarter helped spark the Lions’ come-from-behind victory.
“I was just fired up and wanted to make a play,” Stafford said Tuesday. “It’s not very often that I rush for a first down and it was a big one, I felt, coming out of halftime and needing to make a play to get us started. It wasn’t preconceived. Just caught in the moment. Did something that, in turn, probably helped get us going a little bit.”
In all, Stafford completed 25 of 43 passes for 248 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Fast-forward: Another week, another tough pass defense for Stafford with Cincinnati. The Bengals are allowing opponents to throw for 216.33 yards a game (ninth in the NFL). The Bengals are also allowing 4.85 yards a play -- and more importantly, 6.42 yards a pass attempt, which ranks fifth in the league. In other words, Stafford could have some issues Sunday against Cincinnati.
Release back to normal: With Calvin Johnson still hobbled with his knee injury but playing, Stafford was back to normal with his quick release times out of the pocket. That’s critical because it took a major hit (essentially half a second) when Johnson didn’t play.
Prediction: Johnson’s health -- or lack of it -- will still be a factor for Detroit and Stafford this week, but the receiver drops are a bigger concern. That won’t change, and Stafford will be hurt by it, seeing his receivers drop five passes, taking him from a 300-yard day to a 250-yard one with two touchdowns.