Lions Veteran Backs Matthew Stafford After Detroit Fans Boo Him

Matthew Stafford Detroit

Getty Matthew Stafford looks to pass in a playoff game against the Detroit Lions.

When he took the field for warmups before Saturday’s wild-card game, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was showered with boos from Detroit Lions fans.

While there was some pushback on Lions fans for booing the quarterback who played 12 seasons in Detroit, Frank Ragnow said he knew it was nothing personal. The Lions offensive lineman, one of the team’s longest-tenured players and a former teammate of Stafford, said he expected fans to be intense for the playoff game.

“It’s a playoff game, so I knew I would get booed,” he said, via The Associated Press. “I’m not too worried about anyone’s personal feelings against me.”

Ragnow also spoke up for his former teammate after the 24-23 Lions victory, vouching for his character and saying he loved playing with Stafford.

“I’ve just got to say this about (Stafford),” Ragnow said. “He’s one of the best, classiest dudes of all time. He was one of my favorite teammates.”

Lions Stop Matthew Stafford Late

Stafford came out strong against the Lions, throwing a 50-yard touchdown to Puka Nacua and a 38-yard strike to Tutu Atwell in the first half as the Rams scored on their first three possessions. The Lions went into halftime with a 21-17 lead, but both defenses turned up the intensity in the second half.

After the Rams kicked a field goal to cut Detroit’s lead to 24-23, the Lions denied a final score. A penalty pushed the Rams out of field-goal range, and Stafford threw incomplete on fourth down.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Stafford said his team didn’t do enough to take advantage of their red-zone opportunities.

“In a game like this against an offense like that, you need to get to get touchdowns when you get down there,” Stafford said. “We just didn’t make enough plays in the red zone.”

Stafford, a former first-overall pick by the Lions, had a strong performance in his return to Ford Field, finishing 25 of 36 for 367 yards and two touchdowns. After the game, he earned some big praise from his head coach, who helped orchestrate the trade that brought Stafford to Los Angeles in 2021.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else as our quarterback other than Matthew Stafford,” said Rams head coach Sean McVay, via The Associated Pres. “He was outstanding. He was gritty. He was gutsy and made tough throw after tough throw. The rush was barreling down on him, and he stood in there and was dropping dimes all day.”

Big Win for Detroit

The win was a massive one for the Lions and their fans. In their first playoff home game in three decades — which came as the Lions won their division for the first time since 1993 — the team broke an NFL-record nine-game playoff losing streak.

After the game, Lions quarterback Jared Goff said he knew how important the game was to the home fans.

“It means a whole lot to this city,” Goff said. “We knew what it meant when this season started to get into the playoffs and then to get this win. And, you know, it’s just the beginning for us. We’ve got some run left.”

The Lions will now get at least one more home game. After the No. 7 seed Green Bay Packers upset the No. 2 Dallas Cowboys, it ensured that the Lions would host the winner of Monday night’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles.