Through the first three games of the 2021 NFL season, Stafford has passed for 942 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s only turned the ball over once, and the Rams are off to a perfect 3-0 start. Stafford ranks fifth in total passing yards, second in passing touchdowns, and second in passer rating compared to the rest of the league.
The only QB off to a better start than Stafford from a passer rating perspective is Russell Wilson. Despite the Seattle Seahawks’ frustrating 1-2 start, he’s yet to throw an interception this season.
Matthew Stafford is reaping the benefits of a stacked Rams offense
Stafford was laboring through season after season with the Detroit Lions before being traded to the Rams this past offseason. The Detroit front office rarely surrounded Stafford with the appropriate pieces on offense, and the team’s offensive line has been amongst the worst in football since he was drafted back in 2009.
Of course, Stafford did have Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson to throw to during the early stages of his NFL career. However, even he wasn’t enough to help the Lions win a playoff game with Stafford under center.
Upon being traded to LA, Stafford acquired a long list of weapons at his disposal. Cooper Kupp is off to a red-hot start that has some questioning whether he’ll lead the NFL in receiving yards this season. Robert Woods is slotting in as an above-average second option. Tight end Tyler Higbee already has 100-plus receiving yards on the season, and second-year wideout Van Jefferson is quickly establishing himself as a starting-caliber WR.
Each of these Rams pass-catchers has undoubtedly played a role in helping LA fly off to a 3-0 start. However, it’s a different, newer WR who’s on the brink of NFL history.
DeSean Jackson caught his 9th 75-plus yard TD in Week 3
The speedy DeSean Jackson was another new addition to the Rams’ offense this past offseason. He was scooped up on a one-year deal to bring some added depth and explosiveness to LA’s depth chart.
Jackson is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and doesn’t project to play a huge role within the Rams’ base offense this year. However, that doesn’t mean he still isn’t good for a massive deep ball every once in a while.
During the first two weeks of the season, Sean McVay didn’t utilize Jackson, which promptly changed during the Rams’ high-profile clash against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McVay schemed up a crossing deep route for Jackson, and Stafford hit the California native in stride.
It was Jackson’s ninth receiving touchdown of 75-plus yards, tying him for the most in NFL history.
Matthew Stafford can help DJax break the record
With Jackson so close to breaking the record, one can only assume Stafford will look to make it happen.
Set to turn 35 years old in December, Jackson can no longer be relied upon to be an every-down type of player moving forward. However, as we all saw against the Bucs, he still has the deep speed to make crucial splash plays.
Assuming the Rams continue to weaponize Jackson’s speed, the chances of him setting the NFL record for most career 75-plus yard touchdowns is fairly high.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.