Why its much too early to give up on LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford
The path of the LA Rams 2021 NFL season has certainly been lifted by the play of quarterback Matthew Stafford so far this year. But throughout the season, the bar that he set that we all interpreted as his norm was a bit higher initially than what we have witnessed through the course of this season.
The LA Rams started out with a record of 3-0 before losing their first game of the season to the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams then improved to 7-1 to achieve the apex of the season. That is, until the slow wear and tear on the team and the compounding effect of repeated injuries left the team struggling on offense at the worst possible time.
The LA Rams lost three games and, when their record was 7-4, it appeared that the season would end up no better than that of 2020. That was the nadir of the season. That is until the team found that running the ball had an uplifting effect on the entire team. That placed the Rams back on track, and a five-game winning streak ensued.
Stafford’s best game lies ahead
Even as the game is now mere minutes away, the sense of concern and foreboding is running wild. Some fans already envision a loss on its way. Others, angered over the past disrespect and trolling that has run wild on social media over the past three years, demand that the Rams bury the 49ers beneath a pile of quarterback sacks and coast-to-coast touchdowns.
I don’t think Stafford will shine in Week 18. But that is not a white flag, folks. Matthew Stafford is as much of a football geek as his head coach, Sean McVay. He was beaten earlier in the season by the San Francisco 49ers, a game in which he was throwing to a new and unfamiliar receiving group. Even so, he completed 26 of 41 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
In this one, I can see him passing for around 270 yards. But I can see that happening with about 24 of 30 for 270 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Of course, that will depend on whether the LA Rams are willing to run 20+ times in this one. Will they? Will Matthew Stafford show up large and in charge?
He won’t be alone. While the 49ers took to social media all week, the LA Rams are waiting patiently to make their statement at SoFi Stadium.