Getting LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford on track is . . . well, complicated.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Matthew Stafford
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Something happened in 2021

Okay, some may argue that this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. After all, the LA Rams were 3-1 in the last four games of the regular season, a period of time in which Stafford threw for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Stafford even threw for three interceptions in postseason play. But he was far more effective in the NFL playoffs, throwing for at least two touchdown passes per game, and finishing with nine touchdowns in postseason play.

I’m not sure that we are talking about different matters. In the first eight games of 2021, Stafford threw just four interceptions, while scoring 22 touchdowns. It was not until the Tenessee Titans game in his ninth game with the Rams that matters have taken a significant downturn. Including that game, and all playoff games since, Stafford has thrown 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Something has changed.

Offensive line

Some believe that one of the changes that occurred in that Titans game was the offensive line’s inability to keep Stafford safe in the pocket. That argument has significant merit, as that game was the first occasion for Stafford to suffer more than two quarterback sacks in the game.

And that factor was amplified even further by his Week 1 beating at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, a defense that recorded seven quarterback sacks and far more quarterback pressures.  It’s the principle that has been well established in the NFL. Quarterback pressure by the defense forces passes that sometimes should not have been thrown.

Since Stafford’s five sack beating against the Tennessee Titans pass rush, his ball security has fallen off a cliff. He suffered just seven QB sacks in his first eight games with the Rams and threw just four interceptions over that time.  Since that time, he has played in 15 games, been sacked 38 times, and thrown 21 interceptions.

Yeah, that’s part of the problem.