Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Lions' Matthew Stafford
By Michael Rothstein
A weekly analysis of the Lions’ quarterback play:
Rewind: Matthew Stafford continued his accurate, strong play by completing 24 of 36 passes for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Here’s why those numbers are skewed a little bit: His receivers have been struggling to hold on to the ball. Through two games, Detroit receivers have dropped eight passes, including at least four against Arizona on Sunday in a 25-21 loss.
Fast-forward: Things could look really good for Stafford in Week 3, as he may have one of the top matchups in the NFL facing Washington. The Redskins have yet to intercept a pass, allowing opponents to complete 73.1 percent of their passes at 10.19 yards an attempt. Considering the plethora of options Stafford has at receiver -- including Calvin Johnson -- a couple of them could have a huge day for Detroit.
Pass protected: An underrated part of Stafford’s success this season comes from the five -- or six, if you include tight end Brandon Pettigrew -- guys blocking for him. After Sunday’s loss at Arizona, Stafford told his offensive linemen they have done a good job keeping him clean, and they have. Through two games, he’s been sacked once. Granted, Stafford has been blitzed on only 23.2 percent of his drop-backs so far this season, the third-lowest percentage in the NFL, but he uses that well. He’s been sacked on only 1.2 percent of his drop-backs. Detroit would take that percentage all year for a player who is more of a pocket passer than a scrambler.
Prediction: Another big week from Stafford, who will top 350 yards, find Johnson for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if this ends up being his best game all season. Washington is just struggling against the pass right now.