Lions' Stafford riding 7-game hot streak
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is on one of the best seven-game stretches for a passer in franchise history.
As Stafford has propelled the Lions to a 5-2 record in the second half of the season, his performances have mostly been accurate and efficient, and in addition to setting new personal bests, he’s played better the past two months than just about any other Lions quarterback.
Stafford has a 108.7 passer rating the past seven games, which is the highest mark for a quarterback who averaged 25 attempts per game over the stretch. Dave Krieg set the best passer rating in a seven-game stretch when he had a 116.5 rating from games nine through 15 in 1994, but he averaged just 23.7 passes per game, compared to Stafford's 36.1.
Meanwhile, Stafford is completing 69.7 percent of his passes on this current run, which is the best seven-game mark in franchise history. Krieg completed 66.3 percent of his passes during his efficient streak.
“He’s having a really, really fine run,” coach Jim Caldwell said Monday of Stafford. “You just don’t see it very often, and I think it’s just one of those things where he’s got a good feel for things that are going on around him. He has a good grasp of the system, and I think it suits him. So, he’s making a lot of good decisions and a lot of good plays.”
Stafford’s recent performance has helped his standing relative to the other NFL signal callers, too. After Week 8, Stafford ranked 24th in passer rating (84.1) and was tied for the league lead with 11 interceptions. Now, he ranks 10th in passer rating (95.4), and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 16-to-2 the past seven games.
By most statistical measures, 2015 will be Stafford’s second best season behind 2011 when he had a 97.2 passer rating and threw for 41 touchdowns and 5,038 yards. He won’t match the production numbers with 29 touchdowns and 3,964 yards with one game remaining, but he’s completed 66.9 percent of his passes, which is significantly higher than 63.5 percent in 2011.
In 2011, Stafford had 10 games with a passer rating of 100 or better. From 2012-14, he had just eight such games. He has six games with a 100-plus rating this year, four of which have come in the past five games.
Caldwell said he’s been impressed with how Stafford has excelled while learning an altered system under new coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who took over before Week 8.
“I think the difficulty of the system in which he’s running, it’s not easy and typically it takes a while to get all the little nuances down,” Caldwell said. “But he’s a quick learner and a quick study, and I think he would probably tell you, too, that the guys are also playing well around him, which has given him some help as well.”