Welp, here we go again with Matthew Stafford. It must be extremely tough to be a fan of Stafford. Just when you think he’s rolling along and nothing can stop him, Stafford lays a giant egg in a game that he should win. It almost sounds like being a Dallas Cowboys fan. So, I get it.
Apparently, success isn’t for everyone, and Stafford has already shown that twice with the Rams, and we’re only halfway through the season. Stafford and the Rams started the season 3-0, then ran into the Arizona Cardinals and got cooked at home 37-20. Although Stafford wasn’t horrible against Arizona, he and the offense didn’t do nearly enough to be in the game at the end.
The Cardinals put the handcuffs on the Rams offense and outscored them 17-3 in the second quarter, which put the game out of reach. And that was coming off a huge victory the previous week over defending champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now again, in Week 9, the Rams are flying high coming into their Sunday night matchup with the Tennessee Titans, who were playing Los Angeles without their number one offensive threat, Derrick Henry. The final score of 28-16 makes this game seem closer than it was. The Rams never got going on offense, and Stafford turned the ball over twice inside Rams’ territory. One of Stafford’s two INTs went to the house for a pick-six. The other was Stafford attempting to avoid a safety while being sacked in a pirouette spin motion, desperately flinging the ball right into the arms of a Titans defender. That was the type of night Stafford had against the Titans defense. He could not get anything going until the game was far out of reach.
This has been the knock on Stafford, for years, and it’s continuing in Los Angeles. He plays great for a stretch and gets your hopes up just enough, then bam! He’ll let you down like a deflated balloon. The Rams could have kept Jared Goff for this type of performance in big games. Another divisional-round exit in the playoffs won’t suffice. Anything less than an NFC championship game appearance will be labeled a disappointment, and the blame will be laid at Stafford’s feet.
Maybe the level of talent around Stafford doesn’t matter. The bright lights may be too much for him to handle. He’s beating the teams he should demolish, but against other winning teams, Stafford is 1-2 this season. Over his last three seasons (2018-2020) as QB of the Detroit Lions, Stafford’s record playing teams with winning records was 2-16. Of course, you can say, well, that was with the Lions, which is fair. But we’re seeing the same trend continue even though he’s playing with a much better team. The jersey may change, but the player usually doesn’t.
For Stafford to change the narrative surrounding his career, he’ll need to do it when it matters. Doing it against stouter competition and teams that win regularly is the only way. And getting it done in the postseason matters as well, where he’s currently 0-3 in his career. The bottom line is this: Matthew Stafford is still who we thought he was, and beating up on teams like the Texans, Lions, and Giants won’t change that perception.