Stafford's rise has given Lions swagger

Buoyed by QB's talent, toughness and maturity, Detroit hoping to make noise in playoffs

Originally Published: January 5, 2012
By Jeffri Chadiha | ESPN.com

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The text message flashed on the cell phone of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the night before Christmas Eve.

Margaret Stafford had been anxiously awaiting her son's game against the San Diego Chargers and hoped to lighten the mood before a contest that could clinch the Lions' first playoff berth in 12 years. When Stafford glanced down at the message, he had to be amused by his mother's sense of humor. All she'd written was a single question: "Do you think ...

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