Matthew Stafford must lead the LA Rams as though he’s been here before

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Matthew Stafford
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Take the long way home

After his first two NFL seasons, the pattern of Matthew Stafford’s football career has been a very durable quarterback, as he has consistently shown up and played 16 regular-season games. On three occasions during his 12-year career with the Lions, he played one extra game. Then? Home. Relaxation. Recuperation. Recharging. Beer in hand and feet up on the ottoman. Football time on the big screen TV.

That is not the case this season. Thanks to the extra game in the regular season, plus the success in post-season, Matthew Stafford has started 20 games already, and at least one more is on the way. While he has been that type of quarterback to push himself to play each and every week, his season has never gone beyond early January.

We’ve come a long way, baby

And yet, here we are, entering the month of February 2022, and Matthew Stafford is leading the offense, and the team, through the territory he hasn’t been before. He’s handled the pressure brilliantly so far. But it’s been easy to advance with the head down and focus on football through the first three rounds.  The Rams played on Monday Night Football in the Wildcard Round. The Rams traveled on a short week to compete in the Divisional Round. And finally, the Rams traveled and return home for the NFC Championship.

Now? We wait. The NFL pauses for a week, giving everyone a chance to catch their breath, allowing the emotions of all the recent events, of getting this far, to swell in and subside like an ocean tide. But coming this far is not enough. One game remains. The competition has been whittled down from 14 teams to eight teams to four teams down to the remaining two teams. For the victor? Their names go down in NFL history. To the losers, simply the last team to be sent back to NFL oblivion.

This certainly is a long way from kicking back for a Super Bowl party in the comfort of the Stafford household, isn’t it?