Posts Tagged ‘Scott Mitchell’

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After plying in just 13 games over his first two seasons, Matthew Stafford is tied for third in the NFL with 36 touchdown passes, ranks fifth in passing yards (4,518) and is sixth in quarterback rating (96.6) this season. (AP)

The sight of Matthew Stafford wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines was common for much of the past two seasons.

That has been anything but the case this year as the former No. 1 overall pick has provided an indication of just why the Lions choose to make him their franchise quarterback.

After playing in just 13 games over his first two seasons due to an assortment of injuries, Stafford has started all 15 games this season. His presence has helped the Lions transition from their losing ways and has them in the postseason for the first time since 1999.

At 23, Stafford has had one of the best – if not the best – seasons by a Lions quarterback ever. This year, he has thrown for a franchise single-season record of 4,518 yards (he surpassed Scott Mitchell’s total of 4,338 from the 1995 season in Saturday’s win over San Diego). Stafford’s 36 touchdowns this year also are a single-season franchise record. He even has a 63.7 completion percentage, which also is one of the best marks for a Lions quarterback that has started 75 percent of the team’s games.

Matthew Stafford has helped the Lions to a 10-5 record this season and their first playoff appearance since 1999. (AP)

Even more impressive is that Stafford has put up numbers without a reliable running game this season. With Jahvid Best’s concussion issues, the Lions haven’t really had a go-to back and have been forced to air it out in a majority of their games. The offensive line has come up big in pass pro to help Stafford. It also helps when Stafford can throw to one of the best receivers in the league in Calvin Johnson.

It’s been far beyond the stats. Stafford has helped Detroit overcome big deficits in four of its wins this season. His most impressive drive may have been the 98-yard march down the field for a game-winning touchdown toss to Johnson in Oakland. There also were the rallies in wins against Dallas and Minnesota, too.

The way Stafford has played this season and what he has meant to the Lions turnaround should give him a good case to be on the NFC roster in the Pro Bowl behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans’ Drew Brees (who broke Dan Marino’s single-season NFL passing record in Monday’s win over Atlanta).. Behind those two, what quarterback has really been better?

And it appears that Stafford should only get even better for the Lions.

After Stafford only managed to play in three games in 2010, the talk was could he stay healthy? Should the Lions have taken one of the other quarterbacks in the 2009 draft such as Mark Sanchez? Or should the Lions think about getting another quarterback since Stafford couldn’t stay healthy.

Stafford has more than answered the bell this season and proven that the Lions made the right choice in finding their franchise quarterback.