He must have heard them.
Last week the same discussion that seems inevitable for every Detroit Lions quarterback was directed at Matthew Stafford.
For the first time since he joined the team seven years ago, the chorus rang louder than ever and in unison, saying Matthew Stafford was to blame for the Detroit Lions performance.
Together many so-called experts and fans agreed that Stafford should no longer be the Detroit Lions starting quarterback. Many fans stated he was the worst quarterback in the league. Others said he would never be a winner and all together they said his career in Detroit had run its course and he should be cut or traded.
The face of the Detroit Lions franchise clearly took it to heart and did exactly what his critics said he could not do — he willed the Lions to a much needed victory.
It was clear that Stafford was fired up and responded with a great game. But along the way, he finally got some help. The Lions running game improved, the team pass blocked better and with these factors in place, the big passing plays everyone had hoped for began to materialize.
Stafford had his best game of the season and one of the best games league wide this season while throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns. It’s amazing what a quarterback can do with a running game and pass protection.
The performance also outlined just how he had become a scapegoat for the Lions problems. No quarterback including Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady has ever won with a subpar offensive line and running game.
It just doesn’t happen. But for some reason, fans believe that Stafford should be able to pass, run, block and catch all at once. It’s time to get real. Football is truly the essence of a team sport. To place credit or blame on one individual for the success of a team isn’t realistic. I’ve never seen a greater athlete than Barry Sanders but he didn’t win and it was not because of a lack of effort or performance.
You win as a team and lose as a team. And just like Stafford won’t be credited for the Lions victory, he also shouldn’t be singled out for the team’s defeats.
I would love to see Stafford in a stable situation one day with a balanced offense featuring an above average running game and blocking scheme. Maybe them he would put the critics constant accusations to rest and show off the vast potential that he clearly has.
Hopefully that day will come soon and in a Detroit Lions jersey.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.