Matthew Stafford has prevailed against all the odds and critics as he’s set to lead the Los Angeles Rams into Super Bowl 56 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Of course, a few out there picked the Rams early then kinda rolled off the bandwagon during the season, only to jump back on once the postseason began. Then some were waiting on the Stafford of Detroit to show up and bungle a playoff game like he’d done three times over 12 years with the Lions. Well, Stafford took his boot and kicked that narrative right in the ass.
During his 12 years in Detroit, Stafford played three playoff games, losing all three. He’s already matched those three losses over 12 years with three wins in one postseason with LA. In Stafford’s three playoff losses, he threw four TDs to three INTs and never posted a passer rating higher than 97. Through three games, Stafford has six TD passes to just one INT and a 115.6 rating in this postseason. And he had Megatron, aka Calvin Johnson, for those games in Detroit. This southern California version of Matt Stafford is blowing the motor city guy out of the water in the postseason.
Most football fans were just waiting for him to make that one big mistake so we could say, “I told you so.” I figured the old Stafford would show up at some point, preventing the Rams from cashing in on the trade that sent all that draft capital to Detroit. It hasn’t happened yet, and the Rams are back in the Super Bowl. Now Stafford has to go and finish out this remarkable run by holding up the Lombardi trophy on Feb. 13.
Unlike Jimmy Garoppolo for the 49ers, the Rams are here because of Stafford, not in spite of him. His lone INT during this postseason came early in Sunday’s NFC championship game on a pass he shouldn’t have thrown. Besides that, Stafford balled out. He was 31 for 45 passing (nearly 69 percent completed) with 337 yards and two TDs. Matthew flat out showed up and showed out.
Before this three-game run of Stafford’s, he was like Aaron Rodgers without the Super Bowl and MVP awards. They’ve both thrown for gaudy numbers during their careers. One plays for a franchise rich in history, and the other played for an organization whose two best players both retired early to be freed of the team’s buffoonery. That’s really all there is between Stafford and Rodgers. Stafford is playing for a team and coaching staff with a good culture in place. Sean McVay has built that and now has the QB that can run his offense precisely the way he wants it run. McVay’s team has won the NFC championship twice in five years and has never had a losing record. I’d say they’ve constructed a pretty nice winning culture there in LA.
So, I guess we can confirm now that it wasn’t Stafford all those years in Detroit. He was just unlucky enough to be drafted number one in a year where the Lions had the pick. Talk about a storybook ending if Stafford and the Rams can finish the job at home in SoFi stadium against Cincy. Stafford will have gone from a .000 winning percentage in the playoffs to above .500 and 1-0 in the Super Bowl, in the span of one postseason. Plus, Disneyland is less than an hour away. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s magic, I tell ya.