The Detroit Lions have had a franchise QB all along, he just been hiding behind a bigger name. Matthew Stafford has been producing since he came into the league but has been overshadowed by Calvin Johnson. What gets me is that without Stafford throwing the ball, there will be no mention of how great Megatron was.
Stafford’s best year was in 2011 when he threw for 5038 yards, 41 TDs with a 64% completion rating. The majority of his career he’s had one go-to guy and the rest has been check downs if Johnson was double-teamed. During Stafford’s and Johnson’s time together there has been only two wide receivers in that span to catch more than 50 passes and only one 1,000 yard receiver other than Johnson. There’s no denying how great Megatron was but maybe Stafford spent too much time focusing on him, forgetting everyone else.
This season, we are seeing a different Stafford. While Marvin Jones is putting up huge numbers (29/529) the ball is being spread around more than previous seasons and the results have been in the standings. Many picked the Lions to possibly win 1-4 games and heading into week seven they are 3-3 with back-to-back wins against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams.
There are three receivers with at least 20+ catches so far in 2016 and that’s not counting the TE’s and RB’s production. Needless to say, Stafford is playing at a high level now. But hasn’t he always? His stats rival some of the games elite but his name barely gets mentioned with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. When playing a full season he has never had under 4,200 yards passing and less than 20 TDs. His completion percentage could be higher but he has improved tremendously this year as he sits with 69%, the highest of his career.
It’s hard to say if Johnson was the culprit but when you do a little digging it’s hard to ignore the stats. Johnson was an annual 100 reception, 1,200 yards receiver but as we’re seeing this year Stafford is on his way to make Jones a household name. For all the accolades Johnson has gotten over his career, we now see that Stafford played a huge role in that.