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The Los Angeles Rams got walloped by the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in no small part due to a horrific pick-six interception by quarterback Matthew Stafford. Rams head coach Sean McVay has been critical of his QBs in the past when they didn’t take care of the ball, but this time was different. Despite six turnovers in a devastating three-game losing streak, McVay not only didn’t call out his star signal-caller after the game on Sunday. He staunchly defended him.

The LA Rams suffered yet another big loss against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday

Matthew Stafford of the LA Rams gives a thumbs up to head coach Sean McVay during the second half in the game against the Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford | Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images.

On Halloween night, the LA Rams were riding high.

The team beat the lowly Houston Texans 38-22 to take its record to a lofty 7-1. The front office was laying the groundwork to announce a blockbuster trade for Von Miller the next day. And, their next opponent, the Tennessee Titans, found out that All-Pro running back Derrick Henry would miss time, making the Rams Week 9 contest that much easier.

Then, the Titans shocked the Rams 28-16. And, although some things seemed to get better — they signed unhappy star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. — things also got worse, as the offense lost WR Robert Woods to a season-ending knee injury in practice.

An embarrassing Monday Night Football beat down by Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers led into a much-needed bye week.

Coming back, the Rams needed a good performance against one of the best team’s in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers.

That didn’t happen.

The Packers took down the Rams 36-28, but the gap between the two teams — and their two star QBs — looked more pronounced than the score indicated.

The stat lines were similar. Stafford was 21-of-38 for 302 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while Rodgers was 28-of-45 for 307 yards with two TD and no INTs. The Green Bay QB was more efficient, but it was the INT in a crucial spot that really showed the difference.

The score was 30-17 Packers when Stafford threw his soul-crushing pick-six. And, there is one stat that tells it all. This was Stafford’s third pick-six in his last three games. Rodgers has three pick-sixes in his career.

Despite his poor performance, head coach Sean McVay supported QB Matthew Stafford

When Stafford threw his (basically) game-ending pick-six, head coach Sean McVay buried his head in his play sheet and screamed in frustration.

Combining McVay’s televised outburst with his history of publically taking his quarterbacks to task when they don’t play well, you’d think that the young coach would crush Stafford — who has six turnovers (five INTs and a fumble) in the last three games — in his postgame presser.

Quite the opposite happened, though. McVay not only didn’t crush Stafford, he passionately defended him and even put at least some of the blame on himself:

This is a very important thing to all of us. I have total confidence and belief in Matthew Stafford, and I think the narrative, when everybody wants to throw out ‘six turnovers,’ all of those have a totally different story, and not all of those are his fault. This is a great team game. We’re gonna stay connected. There’s a lot of things that — I get frustrated because I feel responsible for some of those spots that our players are in, and I want to do better for them as well.

Sean McVay on Matthew Stafford

While the rant and the support of Stafford were big of McVay, there isn’t a lot else he could say.

The LA Rams gave up a lot to get Stafford. Along with their former QB Jared Goff, LA sent a 2021 third-round pick and their 2022 and 2023 first0round picks to the Detroit Lions for the veteran signal-caller.  

Being all-in on this season and maybe the next one or two, McVay has no choice but to massage this team’s egos to try and get them over the hump. He can’t afford to alienate players and put them on blast like he did with his last passer.

McVay’s relationship with Stafford is very different than his relationship with former QB Jared Goff

Jared Goff and Sean McVay had a lot of success together. After going 0-7 in his rookie year, Goff got a new coach in his second season: McVay.

Together, the duo went 42-20 with the former No. 1 overall pick under center, made the playoffs in three of their four years together, and got the LA Rams all the way to the Super Bowl in 2018. However, the relationship eventually soured.

Some of it started in the same type of postgame press conference McVay just defended Matthew Stafford in. Instead of sticking up for Goff, he called him out, saying he “has got to take better care of the football,” per ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. 

By the end of the 2020 season, the relationship was over. 

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in January, as the Matthew Stafford trade was going down, that “the relationship between Jared Goff and Sean McVay was simply not going to exist anymore.”

The McVay/Goff relationship got so bad at the end, FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that when the coach called the QB to tell him he was traded to Detroit, Goff hung up on McVay.

McVay can’t afford to lose Stafford’s trust when the stakes are so high. That is why, no matter how poorly Stafford plays this season, we’re unlikely to hear anything publically negative about the former Georgia Bulldog from his current head coach.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference


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