Matthew Stafford isn’t why the Detroit Lions don’t win playoff games.
He’s been asked to quarterback arguably the worst run franchise in the NFC for a decade plus. The former blue-chip prospect out of Highland Park, Texas did incredible things during his three-year run as the Georgia Bulldogs quarterback in the SEC. Despite the Detroit Lions being inherently dysfunctional, it was so painfully obvious he needed to be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
In his 11-year NFL career, Stafford has forced his way into the conversation of being the best quarterback in Lions franchise history alongside the iconic Bobby Layne. While he only has one Pro Bowl and the 2011 NFL Comeback Player of the Year to show for it, we simply cannot blame the Lions’ perpetual playoff futility. It’s not his fault, just look at these numbers.
AllLions’ Logan Lamorandier tweeted out several key stats about how the Lions have performed in the three playoff games Stafford has taken part in. When you average 57 yards rushing on offense and allow 442.7 yards per game on defense, not even the best arm talent Georgia or Lions football has offered to date can save you. It’s incredible what he has to go up against every year.
Matthew Stafford can’t be blamed for the Detroit Lions’ postseason issues.
The Lions have qualified for the playoffs three times since Stafford joined the team in 2009. Those postseason campaigns came in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Sadly, the Lions were unable to beat the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks in any of those three playoff games. It should be noted Detroit had to play all three of them on the road Wild Card Weekend.
While the Wild Card games in New Orleans and Seattle weren’t close, Detroit was within one score of beating America’s Team in Dallas. That would have been the Lions’ first playoff win since 1991 and their second since Layne was their quarterback back in the franchise’s golden age in the 1950s.
Stafford is the epitome of why wins aren’t a valuable stat when assessing a quarterback’s performance. It would be a crying shame if he never won a postseason game in his football career. Like, how is that even possible for a player of his caliber? It’s not an impossible ask! He’s a top-12 quarterback in football, illustrating what happens when you go to a bad organization.
It is what it is, but let’s hope Stafford can lead the Lions to one playoff victory at some point.