OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws the ball during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Despite putting up huge numbers this season, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has received his fair share of criticism for being inconsistent at times. On one drive he'll be lights out, but then on another he'll make head-scratching mistakes. I suppose that is to be expected considering Stafford has only played in 27 games in his career. He is still learning, but you can see that he is on the track for greatness.
Just take a look at Stafford's performance on Sunday against the Raiders. He once again had an up-and-down game, as highlighted by a stellar 51-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson and a fumble at the six-yard line in the fourth quarter when the Lions were down by six points. The mistake could have cost the Lions the game, but Stafford bounced back and was determined to not let that happen. On the next two drives, he led the Lions to a pair of touchdowns, including a six-yarder to Johnson that ended up being the game-winning score.
In all, Stafford went 29-of-52 on Sunday and threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran the ball once for five yards on a big fourth down inside the 10-yard line. The heads up play to cut upfield kept the drive alive and allowed the Lions' comeback to happen.
On the season, Stafford has thrown for 4,145 yards, 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has already rewritten the Lions' record books, and he still has two games left to add on to those numbers. To say the least, the future is bright, both for Stafford and the Lions.