It sure has been a bad year for Matthew Stafford. The Lions are 4-8, he’s committed crucial turnovers in the fourth quarter of nearly all of those losses, he keeps getting sacked, his weapons are all hurt or traded and a vocal portion of the fanbase wants him gone. How could it get worse?
Well, here’s one way. He may not be able to reach 4,000 yards for the first time in his NFL career (in a full season). In 2017, Stafford moved into second place all time for most consecutive 4,000 yard seasons, trailing only Drew Brees, who has done it 12-straight years in a row and should easily make it 13 this season.
Now let’s be clear here, Matthew is currently on pace to make it eight straight years, but barely. He’s currently 914 yards away with four games to go. That’s only 228.5 yards per game. Doable, right? He is averaging 257 yards per game during his slump. If he continues his current pace, he’ll finish with 4,115 yards. In all reality, he will probably get there.
But here’s what gives me pause: Stafford’s supporting cast. Marvin Jones Jr. is on injured reserve and Golden Tate is scoring touchdowns in Philly. I don’t know if Stafford can do it with Bruce Ellington and Jim Bob Cooter’s patented throw-to-the-flat offense. It’s not that Bruce is bad, he’s just not Tate. And there’s not a whole lot skill behind him.
Looking at the Lions’ upcoming games, you’d think the path is fairly easy. I know most are looking at the Cardinals and Bills as wins, but Buffalo is allowing the fewest passing yards per game at 187.2 and the Cardinals are allowing the fourth fewest at 220.4. If the Lions do win these games, it’s not going to be easy at all, and it may not be on the arm of Stafford.
Third on the schedule is the Vikings. Matthew Stafford got sacked 10 times by the Vikings in November. In that game, Stafford threw for just 199 yards—his second-lowest output he had all season. I can’t say I feel better about the Lions playing the Vikings the second time around just because it’s at home and the Vikings are currently struggling.
If Stafford doesn't get his 4,000 yards, it has to complete what’s been probably the worst year of his career. Not just statistically, I’m saying all around. Nothing has gone right for No. 9 in blue all year long. Could this be the next thing?