Matthew Stafford hasn’t had the best start to the season. As good as the offense has been as a whole, Stafford is in the driver’s seat and when he isn’t driving well, the whole offense veers off a cliff.
With a few close games in the first four weeks, many were beginning to wonder how sustainable or consistent the offense would be if Stafford continued with his turbulent start. Coming back from Stafford’s second consecutive season-ending broken back, the Lions were insistent that he was 100 percent. But his play on the field was not.
Last week, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell mentioned during a press conference that it’s not Stafford’s back, but his footwork, that the team was concerned about. Considering the progression in Stafford’s mechanics over the past seven years, it’s a very elementary issue for him to have, and one must wonder whether it’s related to his back injury. This week though, we worry not, as gunslinger Stafford looked like himself once more against Jacksonville.
As much as this week’s steamrolling of the Jaguars was a product of the ground game and of the rejuvenated defense, it was also a product of Stafford’s steadiness. He didn’t shine; he didn’t post eye-grabbing stat lines, and he didn’t air out the ball as much as he might’ve in other weeks. However, his mechanics were steadier and he’s getting sharper, slowly regaining his old form—dare I say, arguably borderline-elite Stafford.
If the Lions want to turn this thing around, they may not need borderline-elite Stafford so long as the defense and running game continue performing the way they did following the bye. All they’ll need is steady Stafford. That’s what the Lions got Sunday, and after a scary rough start to the season, let’s not take steady Stafford for granted.