Matthew Stafford Must Finally Shake His Big-Game Stigma for the Rams to Cash In on Their Risky Offseason Gamble

Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead wants to win a Super Bowl badly. He and the front office went all-in for the 2021 NFL season, but it’s unclear if the gamble will pay off. Matthew Stafford must deliver on the big stage for Sean McVay’s squad to make a deep run in the NFL playoffs. That’s not something he’s been able to do in the past, but the Rams are hoping things will be different this time.

Matthew Stafford needs to prove he can win the big game

Matthew Stafford has been one of the most productive regular season quarterbacks for a while from a statistical perspective. However, he still has a dark cloud hanging over his head.

The LA Rams quarterback hasn’t played his best football when the stakes are high. Stafford had played in three playoff games but never won any of them.

It was convenient to use the Detroit Lions as an excuse. It’s the Lions, for goodness sake. Stafford played in Detroit for nine seasons. The Georgia product threw for 45,109 yards, 282 touchdowns, and 144 interceptions during that span. However, he posted a 74-90-1 record for his tenure.

The Lions had mediocre rosters for most of Stafford’s time there, but they did make the playoffs three times. As good as the former Pro Bowl quarterback was in the regular season, he couldn’t attain the same success in the postseason. He threw for 908 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions while completing 63.2% of his passes.

The stigma has followed him to LA. Stafford is only in his first season with the Rams, but his performance has been up and down against quality opponents. There’s no denying his arm talent, but he needs to show and prove with the season on the line.

Stafford knows the stakes and has something to prove. “Every time I step on the field, I’m proving myself,” he said in a recent press conference.

The Rams are hoping their risky gamble pays off

Rams QB Matthew Stafford in action against the 49ers
Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams drops back for pass against the San Francisco 49ers | Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The LA Rams put the utmost faith in Matthew Stafford for the 2021 season. Les Snead struck a deal that sent Jared Goff, two first-round draft picks, and a third-rounder to the Detroit Lions for Stafford.

Goff had run his course in LA, and the team knew it needed to upgrade the quarterback position. As a result, the Rams gave up a considerable amount of capital to get their guy.

The 33-year-old quarterback has had some great moments during the season. He even looked like an MVP candidate early on. However, he’s also come up short in some crucial moments, including late in losses to the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Tennessee Titans.

Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season. The touchdown mark tied his career-high from 2011. Still, the veteran signal-caller led the NFL in interceptions (17). Many of the turnovers have been unforced errors due to poor decision-making.

The Rams brought Matthew Stafford to LA to give them a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl. He’s there to get them over the hump, something Jared Goff couldn’t do in Super Bowl LIII.

The Rams were feeling lucky all season long, taking gamble after gamble. It would all be worth it if they’re hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the season’s end.

Stafford is the key to a Super Bowl run

The pressure is mounting for the LA Rams. All the wheeling and dealing they did in the offseason and around the trade deadline has led to this moment.

The front office gambled on Matthew Stafford, Von Miller, and Odell Beckham Jr., all talented players needing a change of scenery. However, no one should be feeling the pressure more than the 13th-year quarterback.

The rubber match against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals presents the perfect opportunity for Matthew Stafford to change the narrative. He’s no longer in football purgatory. Instead, he’s leading one of the NFL’s most talented teams.

Look up and down Sean McVay’s roster. It’s a who’s who of players. Stafford has so much talent at his disposal, most notably Cooper Kupp and OBJ. He has a stable of young running backs who each bring something to the table. Not to mention, one of the league’s brightest offensive minds is calling plays.

All the excuses went out the window when Matthew Stafford joined the Rams. His legacy is on the line here, regardless of how humble he is.

The LA Rams are in win-now mode, and they need their quarterback to rise to the occasion.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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