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Matthew Stafford vs. Derek Carr, the comeback kids

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The two have a lot more in common than one may think.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Surrounded by a pack of reporters the other day, our Lord and Savior Matthew Stafford was asked about his thoughts on Derek Carr ahead of Friday night’s game.

“I think he’s extremely talented - physically, mentally, all of it. Super quick release, very strong arm, really athletic. Really athletic. People don’t give him enough credit for that. I like watching him play. He’s a young player that’s really talented, really fun to watch,” Stafford said.

Now, we’ll hardly see either one on the field tonight as the Lions take on the Oakland Raiders at 10:30 p.m. But that got me thinking a bit. Is there any area where the two are pretty comparable? And you know what I found? Why, just my favorite Lions-related stat ever: fourth-quarter comebacks.

In 2016, Stafford comes in at No. 1 and Carr at No. 2 as the quarterbacks who have led the most fourth-quarter comebacks in a single season, according to Pro Football Reference.

The comebacks only counted if they were: 1) led by a quarterback 2) were made on an offensive scoring drive in the 4th quarter, with the team trailing by one score, though not necessarily a drive to take the lead or 3) ended in a win or a tie.

In 2016, Stafford had eight fourth-quarter comebacks while Carr had seven:

All in all, Stafford boasts 26 fourth-quarter comebacks in his nine seasons in the NFL and Carr tallies 13 in his four seasons. Stafford’s record in 2016 is the most fourth-quarter comebacks in a single season since the 1970 merger. Across all QBs since 1960, Stafford ranks 14th and Carr’s at 82. (Peyton Manning tops the list at 43 between 1998-2015. Sheesh.)

Worth noting: one of Stafford’s 26 comebacks was against Carr on Nov. 22nd, 2015, when the Lions were trailing 13-9 in the fourth and rallied for an 18-13 win that included a Stafford run for a TD.

Perhaps Stafford’s most astonishing comeback was against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 6th, 2016. By then, all five of Detroit’s wins had come in the fourth quarter or in overtime while they were tied or losing.

The Lions are trailing by three points and have 23 seconds to gain 35 yards with no timeouts. First, Stafford slings an eight-yard pass to Golden Tate, then completes a 27-yard pass to Andre Roberts. And what’s 27 + 8? Exactly 35, ya math majors.

Now the Lions are at Minnesota’s 40-yard line with two seconds left when Stafford spikes the ball to stop the clock. Matt Prater does what he does best and kicks an impressive 58-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, 16-16. The Lions win the coin toss and choose to receive the kickoff. An 11-play, 87-yard drive ends with a beautiful 28-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate, who flips into the end zone. Lions win, 22–16.

Is this a meaningful stat? Maybe. We know Stafford’s been left with a weak offensive line and a weaker running game, forcing him into these types of situations. Is this in reality my flimsy excuse to regale you all in Stafford’s comebacks? More than likely.

I regularly scream fourth quarter Stafford at Twitter to induce hope, so have fun with All-Caps Rowe again this season.

....ok we get it, have a beer.

Oh, and another thing I learned Stafford and Carr have in common? The Lone Star State.

Stafford’s from Dallas and Carr from Sugar Land, which is a real actual place, Google Maps says.

The ocean’s no place for a squirrel.