Big numbers and big contract for Stafford
July, 11, 2013
By John McTigue, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Carlos OsorioMatthew Stafford has put up big numbers the past two seasons, but they haven't always translated to wins for the Lions.The three-year contract extension the Detroit Lions gave starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is worth $41.5 million in guaranteed money – that ranks seventh among current quarterback contracts.
From a statistical standpoint, Stafford has put up impressive statistics. In his first four seasons (2009-12), Stafford has averaged almost 285 yards passing per game. In NFL history, only Kurt Warner (287.5) averaged more passing yards per game in his first four seasons.
Stafford has also benefitted from an offense that has dropped back more often (67.5 percent) than any other team the past two seasons. As a result, Stafford has recorded nearly 100 more total dropbacks than the next highest quarterback.
In 2012, Stafford set and NFL single-season record with 727 pass attempts; however, he threw just 20 touchdown passes in 2012 -- 21 fewer than he did in 2011.
A big reason for that decline was Detroit’s lack of red zone production.
Last season, the Lions dropped back to pass in the red zone 61 percent of the time, which was down 8 percent from 2011. The result was 22 fewer total red-zone dropbacks for Stafford. In 2011, 29 of his 41 touchdown passes came in the red zone. In 2012, Stafford had a total of 20 touchdowns (14 of which were in the red zone).
Bad luck also played a part in Stafford’s diminished red-zone numbers.
Detroit receivers were tackled inside the 5-yard line a league-high 23 times. Calvin Johnson was tackled eight times within the 5-yard line, including five times at the 1-yard line -- both numbers were league highs. In 2011, Johnson was tackled just twice inside the 5-yard line and once at the 1-yard line.
Even though Stafford has put up big numbers, and led the Lions in 2011 to their first playoff appearance since 1999, you can assume a lot of his numbers have come in games the Lions have lost.
Overall, Stafford is 17-28 as the Lions starting QB. However, against team that finished the season with a winning record, Stafford is 1-22. That is the worst win percentage since 2009 against teams to finish the season with a winning record.