Calvin Johnson defends Matthew Stafford’s performance
Is there any team more confusing than the Detroit Lions?
Since sweeping the Chicago Bears to take a stranglehold of the NFC North in Week 10, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has turned the ball over 12 times (10 interceptions, 2 fumbles) and has finished only one game with a completion percentage higher than 57%. In these five games, the Lions have gone just 1-4.
After their 18-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, the Lions now find themselves a game back in the division.
Matthew Stafford’s performance epitomized the Lions’ recent skid. After driving down the field for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, the Lions offense could only muster one field goal up until a late 4th quarter touchdown.
Stafford threw three interceptions, including one that sealed the Lions loss with 30 seconds remaining.
His poor performance consisted of anticipating a rush and not stepping into his throws, overthrowing receivers, being off target on short routes and forcing the ball into coverage.
Lions teammates defended their quarterback, including Calvin Johnson, who had a rough night himself with two drops.
“You can’t lay all the blame on him,” Johnson said. “It’s all us, it’s everybody. Balls get tips and Stafford had a bunch of crazy stuff like that happen, whether it be receivers, falling or a defensive end tips the ball or something like that. Matt’s playing good. None of this was on Matt. It’s on us as a team.”
Stafford’s physical gifts should translate into much better production than what he’s currently giving the Lions. So often Stafford makes throws that NFL quarterbacks everywhere dream about, but also too often he makes inaccurate and boneheaded throws that are sure to make his coaches want to rip their hair out.
The Lions are just hoping that Stafford develops into the great quarterback that they thought they were getting with the first overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, but if not, Stafford may always be known as just another quarterback with a big arm who continues to make frustrating mistakes.
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Sports-Kings Down and Distance contributor Dylan Veltkamp @DylanVeltkampSK