Sunday, November 22, 2009
Stafford Sets Record As Lions Win
Matthew Stafford, of the Detroit Lions, has had a rookie season that can best be described as trying. Both he and his team have struggled all season, which was expected by all observers.
There was a time this season some thought Stafford would be shut down for the season as he struggled with a knee injury. Stafford kept plugging along, and has taken his lumps all season long behind a porous offensive line that does not allow the team offensive balance with a consistent running game.
Coming into today's game against the lowly Cleveland Browns, Stafford had thrown 12 interceptions against six touchdown passes in the seven games he was able to get on the field and play. Though the numbers may seem unimpressive to some, others feel the rookie has shown great promise thus far.
Stafford showed an even bigger glimpse at his abilities today when he set an NFL and Lions record of five touchdown passes in a game by a rookie as the Lions won 38-37. It also ties the franchise record, which was set by Gary Danielson in 1978 against the Minnesota Vikings.
He got the ball rolling forward for his team late in the first quarter with his team down 24-3 by finding rookie running back Aaron Brown on a 26 yard pass play. He added two more in the second quarter, including a 75 yard heave to wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
With the Lions defense playing better in the second half, he added two more with each being a one yard toss to his tight ends. The second was was the most important, because it was with no time left on the clock and secured the Lions an important second win of the season.
Stafford still shows fans that he is a rookie. He did throw two interceptions and was called for intentional grounding while attempting to throw out of the end zone, which resulted in a safety. Now up to 14 interceptions this season, fans realize it may take Stafford a few more years of playing experience, to go with solid drafts to upgrade the surrounding talent, for him to truly show why he was the first player drafted overall this year.
Still, Lions fans have to be happy for the win and the prospects of their young quarterbacks future. Though fellow rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has gotten more press, due mostly to his playing in the media heavy New York City, it is easy to say Stafford has played better so far.
Though Matthew Stafford might not win the Rookie of the Year Award this season, he is in the record books already. How much further he can delve into both the leagues and his teams records books remains to be seen, but plan on it being fun to watch.