The Rams and Lions saw the difference between Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff this year, and there’s another bit of data to reflect it.
In search of a higher ceiling, the Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford last offseason. They went to a Super Bowl with Jared Goff, but he was easy to ship along with three draft picks to the Detroit Lions to get Stafford. Quite simply, the franchises are in two different places and made a deal to accomodate most parties.
The Rams are of course headed to Super Bowl LVI in their home stadium, while the Lions went 3-13-1 in the first year of a rebuild. A simple look at individual stats shows the difference between Stafford and Goff, even with Goff playing markedly better over his final five starts of the season.
Third down data highlights marked difference between Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff
Over at The Huddle, David Dorey did a deep dive into how NFL quarterbacks did on third down this year, including rushing success, passing success (defined as first downs attained) and then combining the two in a final table to determine which signal callers are the “Kings of Third Down”. Plays that resulted in a touchdown are included.
Using a minimum of 10 qualifying rushing attempts, Stafford and Goff both don’t show up on that list. But the third-down passing numbers for the two are striking.
In third down passing proficiency, Stafford led the league with a 52 percent success rate (74 first downs on 141 pass attempts). The only quarterback within five percent of him was Patrick Mahomes, at 51 percent. All the way down at 34 percent (38 first downs on 113 attempts), sitting 29th out of 31 quarterbacks on that table (no New Orleans Saints quarterback), is Goff. The third down passing touchdown difference, 12 for Stafford to four for Goff, was also substantial.
One third down passing area where Stafford didn’t lap Goff this season was overall completion rate. Stafford was 91-for-141 (64.5 percent), while Goff was 72-for-113 (63.7 percent). But where it really matters, conversion rate into first downs/touchdowns on the most important down to keep the chains moving, there’s another piece of evidence to confirm a talent gap that was already clear by the eye test and surface stats.