The Lions have struggled in previous seasons, but the team can start the 2020 season off with a strong Week 1 performance against the Chicago Bears.
The Detroit Lions are high on Matthew Stafford
The Lions selected Stafford with the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Detroit saw Stafford being their starting quarterback for many years. Stafford started in 10 games during his rookie season and threw for 2,267 yards with 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. He missed the remainder of the season due to a minor knee injury. The injuries continued during the next season as he only played in three games. He had to get surgery on his right shoulder and miss the rest of the season.
During his first two seasons, the Lions struggled as a whole and finished with losing records. In 2011, Stafford was back healthy and was ready to get back on the field with his team. The 2011 season was a good one for Stafford. He became the fourth quarterback in NFL history and the third during the 2011 season to throw for 5,000 passing yards during the season. Stafford had a breakout game against the Green Bay Packers that season where he threw for 520 yards. He became the second-youngest quarterback in history to reach 5,000 passing yards.
That season he became the first Lions’ player in franchise history to have two games in a single season with at least five passing touchdowns. He finished the regular season with 5,038 passing yards with 41 touchdowns. Stafford helped lead the Lions to the playoffs as they finished the season with a 10-6 record.
It was the Lions first playoff appearance since 1999. Detroit lost to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round, but Stafford had a breakout season. He was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year and NFL Alumni Quarterback of the Year.
Matthew Stafford has put up impressive numbers despite the Lions losing woes
Even though the Lions have struggled, he has put up solid numbers at the quarterback position during Stafford’s time with the team. Stafford has made it to the playoffs three times during his career and has lost in the first round every time. In 2014, Stafford was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. That season he finished throwing for 4,257 yards with 22 touchdowns. He was named the Pro Bowl Offensive MVP, throwing for 316 yards with two touchdowns.
During the 2015 season, Stafford threw five touchdowns during a Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the fourth time in his career that he had a five-touchdown game, and he became the 10th player in NFL history to accomplish that. That season he also reached 25,000 passing yards in his 90th game and became the fastest quarterback to reach that milestone.
There’s no question that the Lions value Stafford and see him as a quarterback that can lead his team to success. In 2017, he signed a five-year $135 million extension with $92 million guaranteed, which made him the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time. The Lions were all in on Stafford.
Matthew Stafford is ready to make some noise in 2020
After dealing with injuries the past two seasons, Stafford is healthy and is looking forward to getting back out on that field. In a Detroit Free Press article from May, Stafford talked about how he felt ahead of the upcoming season. “As far as the way I feel about my body, I feel great,” Stafford said. “I’m not worried about going out there and playing. If we could put the pads on today and go play, I would do it.
Now that the season is here, all eyes will be on Stafford to see how he performs this season. The coronavirus pandemic did not stop Stafford from putting in the work during the offseason. This can be the year that the Lions make some noise in the NFC, and Stafford is looking to have another big season. Stafford has been in the league long enough, and he wants to prove to others that he still belongs in the league and that he can play at a high level.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference