Just how good will LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford by season's end?

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The LA Rams know that to win games this season, veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford has to play at the top of his game. So far, Stafford has been that guy. At least, when it comes to passing yards. But after two games, the venerable veteran hurler has completed 58 of 93 passes for 641 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. While those are pretty good numbers for an NFL quarterback, they are not the numbers that the LA Rams need from Stafford this season.

641 yards is good enough to propel Matthew Stafford to the third-ranked NFL passer so far this season. And thanks to Matthew Stafford, rookie WR Puka Nacua is shattering records, and teammate WR Tutu Atwell is finally earning the respect that he so desperately needs and finally deserves.

But in terms of his own career stats, this is a sub-par season for Stafford.

Now, don't get me wrong, Stafford is still doing what he does best. He continues to slice and dice up opposing defenses. And as long as he piles up 300+ passing yards per game, nobody but a foolish few will dare to look a gift horse in the mouth.

But maybe we ought to consider doing so.

Stafford's completion and TD rates are dropping

Comparing what Stafford is doing this season over his career performance, two deviations jump out off the page. Matthew Stafford is still throwing in his career range for yards per completion, and yards per attempt, interception percentage, and is even running a bit higher on yards per game. But his current completion rate of 62.4 percent and touchdown rate of just 1.1 percent are significantly lower than what he has been doing in this LA Rams offense.

So how is he coming in at third place in passing yards? Simply stated, he is throwing far more often than other NFL quarterbacks so far.

Matthew Stafford has attempted 93 passes in just two games. At his current pace, he will have attempted 791 passes by the end of this season. That number of attempts will shatter the current record on the NFL All-Time Single Season Record of passing attempts of 731 held by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady in 2022. Just for the record, Brady retired the very next year.

Of course, some of this nadir effect in Stafford's passing proficiency is due to the fact that he is tossing to new hands, new receivers, and new offensive plays. But Matthew Stafford is playing in his 15th NFL season. Before this season, he lowest touchdown rate was 2.8 percent in 2012.

Save some Stafford for postseason, please?

I'm not suggesting that the sky is falling for the LA Rams offense. I'm simply stating the facts. As much as we'd love to believe that the 35-year-old NFL veteran quarterback plays on for the next five years, he is aging and at some point in his career, even his best days under center will not compare to his average performance at the peak of his NFL career.

For now, the LA Rams must consider giving Stafford better looks in the end zone before defenses learn to key on the running game. And perhaps even more importantly, the Rams must temper their love of the passing game. If the Rams do find success this season, and somehow earn a berth in the NFL Playoffs, the Rams will need a fresh arm on Stafford to have any chance.

At this rate, even if the Rams do get to the postseason, just how much of Stafford will be left to carry the team the rest of the way?