Few folks are willing to concede that everything might not be Stafford’s fault, but that’s the truth at this point in time. Stafford certainly has been erratic at times this season with his play, but he doesn’t play defense or coach the team, nor can he control what happens to the ball after it’s thrown in the direction of his wideouts.
To that end, Stafford is being let down in a huge way by his pass catchers, who are dropping the highest percentage of passes in the NFL this season.
A recent look at the stats showed that the Lions maintained the highest drop rate in the entire NFL.
Doesn't change that much. NFL teams with most drops (by Fox Sports count) per 100 pass attempts:
Giants 5.21 https://t.co/92p1yjHomi
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 10, 2020
While it’s true Stafford hasn’t been elite this season in terms of winning and also distributing the ball, he can only do so much with the passes he’s throwing. Several Lions players have had frustrating drops this season, and in the team’s Week 9 game, Danny Amendola had quite possibly the worst, bobbling a pass on a key 2nd down play.
Veteran and young players alike not being able to handle the ball has been a team wide problem thus far for the Lions, and it’s easy to see how this could help make the offense look terrible at times as well as hinder Stafford’s own play.
Matthew Stafford 2020 Stats
Even in spite of these troubles with his wideouts, Stafford has run hot and cold thus far with Detroit this year. He’s put up some solid numbers overall with 2,127 yards, 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He’s completed a respectable 62.6% of passes so far this season. In a vacuum, these numbers are alright for any player.
There has been one problem, however. The team’s defense has let the quarterback down more often than not this season. Even so, all 3 of Stafford’s picks have played a critical role in each of Detroit’s defeats. Week 1, he fired a late pick to aid Chicago’s comeback. Week 2, Stafford fired an interception for a touchdown which jump started Green Bay. Finally, in Week 4, Stafford’s untimely toss into the end zone thwarted Detroit’s shots at reclaiming the lead mid-game. That happened again after a few wins in Week 8, where Stafford had a critical pick against the Colts. Week 9 brought a pair of interceptions in critical stages against the Vikings.
This wasn’t the play the Lions hoped for from a player some hyped as a dark horse MVP candidate. Stafford has simply been alright, but this season, just being alright wasn’t going to get it done, especially with the team’s defensive failures so pronounced and consistent.
There’s been pressure on Stafford to be the whole team again, which puts him in a very tough position. The trouble? He hasn’t completely delivered solid, consistent play. It’s more than possible his wideouts have also hurt him with regards to this.
Tough To Blame Matthew Stafford Completely
Stafford has had far from an elite season for the Lions. He has struggled statistically and otherwise and it leads people to wonder if he’s the guy at the position moving forward. Even though that’s true, it can also be true that his teammates haven’t helped him in the least bit on offense at times. Stafford is a consummate pro so you’ll never hear him complain, but the fact is, the team’s offense has been miserably called and executed at times this year.
Whatever happens with Stafford will be a question better left for the offseason and potentially a new front office should things trend in that direction. Right now, however, a good practice would be for the Detroit wideouts to start meeting their quarterback halfway and start making some catches on the field.