Wednesday, October 23, 2013
QB Watch: Lions' Matthew Stafford
By Michael Rothstein
A weekly examination of the Lions’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford missed some throws deep on Sunday -- notably ones to Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles -- but otherwise played quite well. He had the best QBR of any quarterback who lost a game Sunday (81.9) and threw for 357 yards, third best in the league last week. His completion percentage was his lowest of the season (54.9 percent), but he was one of two quarterbacks not to take a sack, and he threw three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Fast-forward: The Cowboys' defense is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 62.2 percent of their passes, but it also has nine interceptions. Moreover, Dallas' defense has 20 sacks. That’s an intriguing number for two reasons relating to Stafford -- he’s been sacked just nine times, tied for the lowest number in the league. Here’s the potential issue for Stafford: He has a ton of injured tackles. Starting left tackle Riley Reiff injured his hamstring in the first half and was limited when he returned in the fourth quarter. Starting right tackle Jason Fox hasn’t played since injuring his knee against Green Bay, and Corey Hilliard, his replacement, injured his knee in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati. Right now the only healthy tackle is undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle, who has less than one full game worth of experience.
Drops are better: For the first time all season, no Detroit receiver was charged with a drop Sunday against Cincinnati, and the performance even knocked the Lions out of the ignominious spot of having the worst drop percentage in the league. St. Louis, at 7.1 percent, now leads the league in drops. Detroit is second at 6.9 percent.
Prediction: Stafford again throws for more than 250 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception.