In his first year since getting traded from the Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford has his team in the Super Bowl. At one point, he was a top candidate for MVP. And if you look at the numbers, it makes complete sense. In the regular season, he threw 41 touchdowns, completed over 67% of his passes, and averaged over eight yards per attempt.
However, Stafford has had some ugly outings this year. He threw thirteen interceptions over his last nine regular season games. That includes back-to-back interceptions—one a pick-six, the other down to the Los Angeles Rams’ two yard line—in an ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans in early November.
In fact, Stafford led the league in pick-sixes this year with four, which is one more than he had last year with the Lions, when he also led the NFL in that category.
So while all the talk is about how Joe Burrow’s offensive line will survive against Aaron Donald, Von Miller, Leonard Floyd, and company, maybe we should dedicate some discussion to how Stafford will fare against a defense that has, in a way, won three playoff games on interceptions.
Germaine Pratt, of course, ended the Wild Card game against the Las Vegas Raiders with a pick of Derek Carr right outside the endzone that prevented the score from being tied. The next week, Logan Wilson picked off Ryan Tannehill with 20 seconds left to set up an Evan McPherson game-winning kick.
And last week, Eli Apple almost won the game on a pick-six of Patrick Mahomes, but he couldn’t hold on. So, the next play, Vonn Bell intercepted the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback to set up a McPherson field goal that sent the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
Stafford, of course, has been better at protecting the ball in these playoffs. In three games, he has only one turnover, an interception last week against the San Francisco 49ers. It is for this reason that Rams reporter Arash Markazi told us he feels more confident in the quarterback. You can watch the interview below:
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