Stats Prove Lions’ Matthew Stafford Was Robbed From MVP Level Season

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford looks on from the bench in 2017.

Most understand that Matthew Stafford was having a great season in 2019 before disaster struck in the form of injury, but how might Stafford have finished had the injury never happened?

Recently, ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky took a stab at projecting what Stafford would have done if not for a back injury midway through the season. As he showed, Stafford was well on track to perhaps having an MVP level season with the Detroit Lions. It’s possible that Stafford would have gone for over 5,000 yards passing with 38 touchdowns had he not been hurt.

Obviously, Stafford started out on a tear, and was a big reason the Lions had a decent start to the year. It’s not a surprise their fortunes tanked when the team was forced to go without him. The Lions finished a woeful 3-12-1 without Stafford.

Heading into 2020, though, these stats provide some hope that Stafford might be primed for big things this coming season. The league might have to look out for Stafford with this in mind.

Matt Patricia Explains Love For Matthew Stafford

Recently, Matt Patricia went on Good Morning Football and was asked about the offseason of rumors that seemed to never stop churning as it related to the quarterback. Patricia simply put the stop to those talks with a solid explanation.

“One of the main reasons I came to the Detroit Lions was Matthew Stafford. I have the utmost respect for him as a player,” Patricia said. “I think he’s a phenomenal teammate. He’s a great football mind. He loves to talk the game. I just get fired up when I get the chance to talk to him and go over strategy. From that standpoint for me, it’s kind of a crazy conversation when that stuff comes up.”

As Patricia said, he gets why some coaches want change at the quarterback spot, but he is just the opposite when it comes to Stafford, choosing to build around him.

“I do understand when coaches maybe go into franchises and they’re trying to re-do everything there, maybe go younger, get a less expensive quarterback, whatever it is to build around pieces they feel they need. In our case here, I’m trying to do the best I can to build around Matthew Stafford,” he said. “Try to help him out, obviously with the offensive line, get a little bit of a run game, play better defense. Try to do everything we can to have a complementary football team with him as our leader. I get really excited to coach him and I’m not changing.”

The Lions stuck with Stafford and it doesn’t look as if they are changing anytime soon given the reasons Patricia outlined.

Why Lions Problems Aren’t Totally Matthew Stafford’s Fault

Recently, former NFL personnel man turned ESPN analyst Louis Riddick explained on Get Up why the Lions don’t need to be looking for a new quarterback in 2020, and the reason was because the team still hasn’t done enough to fully support Stafford in all the ways they can.

“You understand they haven’t put much around this young man at all. From 2011-2017, Matthew Stafford threw for over 4,000 yards every season. In 2011, he threw for 5,000 yards. He basically has carried this football team on his own with no help,” Riddick said. “They had no running game during this entire time. This is a team that has been in the bottom quarter of the league rushing the football because they just put it all on Matthew Stafford’s shoulders. And he delivered. He’s been a top 10 quarterback the entire time he’s been in the NFL. What has happened though is everything around him has been absolutely average to below average to mediocre. It’s been subpar. He’s gotten no help. No quarterback can transcend mediocrity when its surrounding him. Matthew Stafford has had to try and win and succeed in spite of dysfunction around him his entire career.”

As Riddick went on to explain, the Lions have tried to change course recently, but it hasn’t gone that well for them, only further proving his point.

“Finally, they started investing in the offensive line. They drafted Kerryon Johnson, he needs to stay healthy. They’ve become a little more balanced. They’ve done some decent things on the defensive side of the football, but it hasn’t been good enough,” he said. “The people around Matthew have failed him. Matthew hasn’t failed Detroit, the people around Matthew have failed Detroit.”

Safe to say that Riddick, who understands the inner-workings of the league well, is dropping some serious knowledge with this topic.

Matthew Stafford Called Elite Quarterback

Stafford is clearly valued by folks in the NFL community in a big way. Recently, Bucky Brooks of revealed a list of his top 5 quarterbacks who are transcendent in the league right now. Stafford was included, and was included amongst some true luminaries right now at the position.

It’s likely to be controversial for many that Stafford is on the list given his lack of big success in the NFL in terms of wins and losses at this point, but there is little doubting the fact that Stafford has some major talent to rely on at this point. He’s got a great arm and all the tools to dominate.

The hope is Stafford’s talent shines through and he starts to win bigger on the big stage in the future. For now, though, he still makes the cut in terms of elite players at his position in the mind of Brooks and likely plenty of others.

Matthew Stafford Named Potential 2020 NFL MVP by ESPN

That back injury ended up costing Stafford the rest of the 2019 season, but now that he has presumably healed up, the sky could be the limit for the quarterback during the 2020 season. In fact, some already see Stafford as being in the mix for a major award for his play during next season.

ESPN recently put together an Insider piece predicting some outcomes for the 2020 season. When it came to league MVP, there were scant votes for Stafford, but one insider was bold enough to say he thinks the Detroit quarterback could be the league MVP.

In a piece by’s Benjamin Raven, the thoughts of ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler from the piece are presented. Here’s a look at what was written by Raven that Fowler shared in the piece:

“The Lions quarterback was playing some of the best ball of his career before going down with fractured bones in his back, though, and his level of play was reason enough for one ESPN analyst to pencil him in as the 2020 NFL MVP.

“Mahomes is still the game’s best player, but Stafford was playing really good football before his midseason back issues,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes (ESPN Insider). “If he leads Detroit to contention, which isn’t so farfetched considering the talent around him, he’ll be in the MVP mix because he puts up numbers and the NFC North is as open as Kenny Golladay.”

The Lions were arguably getting MVP level play out of Stafford before he got hurt, and the numbers proved that he was acclimating just fine to Darrell Bevell’s new offense in Detroit. Last season, Stafford was cruising along to the tune of 19 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and 2,499 yards. Clearly, he was the most valuable player for the Lions considering what happened to the team when he went down.

The hope is that next season, Stafford can put together just as elite of a year and dominate on the field in similar fashion.

READ NEXT: Predicting Every Game For The Lions 2020 Schedule

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