Matthew Stafford has made a habit of making the tough throws look easy for the Detroit Lions, and he certainly pulled off some beauties against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, so much so ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho was wowed.
Acho saw Stafford’s touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay into a tight window and admitted that it makes sense why the Lions would pay him as handsomely as they do to be their quarterback given such arm talent on the field.
Here’s a reminder of the play and Acho’s reaction, which was likely the same for plenty of fans in real time watching.
Indeed, the pass was a beautifully placed rifle right where it needed to be in between a handful of Kansas City defenders, and Stafford threaded the needle on the play. It was hardly the only great throw he made on the day, though. Stafford struck late in the fourth quarter on a fade in the corner of the end zone to Golladay, and also nearly fired a third score to the wideout that was overturned when Golladay fell out of the back of the end zone and was ruled to not have possessed the football. He also hit Marvin Hall down the sideline with an insane precision pass.
On the day, Golladay finished with 67 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
Stafford has had his detractors through the years given his inability to win big games and playoff games, but one thing that nobody has ever questioned is his toughness and his ability to make every single throw on the field. The Kansas City game, to this end, was yet another masterpiece for Stafford in terms of showing off his ability to not only unleash rockets, but get the ball into any window he pleases.
This season, Stafford has fired 9 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions, and it’s looking likely that the influence of Darrell Bevell has helped him in a major way. Bevell has worked with plenty of elite quarterbacks through the years including Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Stafford is looking much improved managing the game along with Bevell’s tutelage.
The only issue to remember in 2019 is to see if Stafford can begin to claim some big victories for his resume. He’s well on his way after upending the Philadelphia Eagles early in the year, and nearly out-dueled Patrick Mahomes in this very game. More games like this with highlight reel throws will help Stafford to further the notion that he is an elite signal caller in the league.
Stafford is locked up in Detroit and with the fact that he is playing good football on a good team, it might finally be time for the quarterback to blossom in a big way this season. Such plays, and the wins they could help usher in for the Lions, will help the world realize he is ready to take the next step.
One throw at a time, Stafford is looking to make believers out of everyone in 2019 both in the media and otherwise, and in converting Acho, he’s off to a good start in terms of getting that done.
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