Critical Aspect III: Can Matthew Stafford play smarter?
In the past two games, the play of veteran QB Matthew Stafford has been uninspiring, to say the least. In two games, he has completed 57 of 89 passes for 537 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. But truth be told, he didn’t exactly enter those two games with a winning game plan.
In 2020, Stafford rebounded from a similar struggle with a 24 of 33, 276 yards, three-touchdown performance against a pretty good Washington Football team on November 15, 2020. Similarly, he rebounded after a horrible season opener in 2018 to go 34 of 53, 347 yards, and three touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers on September 16, 2018.
The truth is that even as the LA Rams try to get their offensive house in order, quarterback Matthew Stafford is a long-running veteran of games involving teams from the NFC North. He is not waiting for Rams head coach Sean McVay to fix the offense. Rather, he has been working with his receivers to develop the time of chemistry and communication that he needs to win games down the stretch.
Ready for a rebound?
More often than not, Stafford has gotten better in the latter part of the season. Perhaps never has that been more important than the 2021 NFL season. Since his arrival on the LA Rams roster, Stafford has already thrown to 11 different players. Of course, he threw to 16 different receivers in 2020 with the Detroit Lions, and to 18 different receivers in 2018 with the same Lions. So Stafford is no stranger to working with new talent over the course of the NFL season.
Even after the LA Rams BYE week, he remains the third-best quarterback in terms of passing yards, yards per game, and touchdown passes (pending Tom Brady’s Monday Night Football performance). He also remains the highest-rated quarterback so far this season.
That is compelling evidence. In short, the LA Rams offense should benefit from a Stafford rebound, a rebound that appears to be taking shape to occur in Week 12. Even as the Green Bay Packers is a tough defense to move the ball and score against, they’ve just lost a shoot out to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11.
Yes, Stafford can play smarter, and will this week. The team knows that they will be facing a wounded Green Bay Packers team on their turf, a very dangerous combination. To emerge with a victory, the team will need to put up their best overall game of the season. I have faith in the Rams, and quarterback Matthew Stafford, to do exactly that.