Matthew Stafford’s football (in)security continues at a shocking rate

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams traded for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford for many reasons, but two of the key reasons for doing so was to acquire a passer who possessed an ability to improvise, followed closely by the ability to throw for far more touchdowns than interceptions. In the four seasons prior to joining the LA Rams, Stafford completed 1,264 of 1939 passes for 14,806 yards, 95 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions. That is a touchdown to interception ratio of 2.64 TD/INT.

But since arriving at the LA Rams, Stafford has completed 460 of 678 passes for 5,398 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions. That is a touchdown to interception ratio of 2.05 TD/INT. Now, here’s where things become alarming.

Matthew Stafford‘s 2022 season performance is substandard. Not just for Matthew Stafford, but for the average NFL quarterback, and that’s quite shocking. So far this season, he’s completed 56 of 77 passes for 512 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. While his completion rate is running at 72.7 percent, a rate that if sustained would be an all-time career high, his TD/INT ratio is currently 0.8.


Goff got the boot for less

One of the key motivators for the LA Rams to move on from former quarterback Jared Goff was his inability to secure the football. Up to this 2018 Super Bowl appearance, Goff was on track to remain the LA Rams franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. But a rocky 2019 season changed his career trajectory significantly, and his 2018 TD/INT ratio of 2.7 plummeted to 1.4 in 2019, then to 1.5 in 2020.

At that point, LA Rams head coach Sean McVay had seen enough and lobbied hard to ensure that the LA Rams, and his offense, would no longer struggle with Goff under center. But be careful what you wish for, because you just may get it.

At his current pace, Stafford is on track to throw 43 interceptions this year. That is more than double the 20 interceptions that he threw in his rookie season. That’s very alarming. So let’s think this through from the opposite direction. What must Matthew Stafford average arrive at his 2021 season statistical performance?

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Stafford’s statistical deficit spells doom for the Rams

With 15 games remaining, Stafford is 4,374 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions off his 2021 mark.  On a per-game mark, Stafford must throw an average of 291.6 yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and just 0.8 interceptions for the rest of the season. That is not to achieve some lofty NFL record-setting pace. That is simply to end up the 2022 NFL season at the same spot he ended in 2021.

That’s quite a turnaround for the Rams’ veteran quarterback. It’s such a dramatic about-face that there is plenty of room and reason to doubt that he can pull it off. Making matters worse, the Rams are playing the toughest schedule in the NFL this year, and the performance in their first two games has not been much to give confidence so far.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the LA Rams offense with Matthew Stafford under center. But I loathe turnovers. Throwing interceptions is a gift-giving practice that this team can ill-afford. If the Rams are to have any hopes of winning the NFC West Division, and in turn competing in the NFL Playoffs this year, Matthew Stafford has to stop clocking so many interceptions.

That is not a want. It’s a must. And it must start now.

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