Lions' Stafford: Finger not to blame for INTs

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Matthew Stafford insists his finger isn’t an issue, but the Detroit Lions quarterback’s ball security has declined in games since he’s suffered the injury to his throwing hand.

Stafford spent much of the season in the MVP conversation, in part because of his ability to protect the football. In the team’s first 12 games, he threw 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions. In the past three, one touchdown, four interceptions. He also had a couple other passes that were nearly picked and he lost a fumble in the close minutes against Dallas.

Those struggles are in line with the dislocated middle finger Stafford suffered against the Bears in Week 13 — which has required the quarterback to wear a combination of a splint, tape and glove — but he says his decision-making has been the primary reason for the interceptions.

“You look back at them and maybe the one in Chicago is a poor throw, you know, behind him,” Stafford said. “For the most part, it’s been more so decisions, or just close here or there. It’s something that obviously I’m trying to eliminate as much as possible while still staying aggressive, but I really don’t think it’s been a factor.”

Lions Travis Swanson, Darius Slay return to practice

Turnovers, or lack thereof, has been critical to the Lions’ success this season. The team has given it away six times in their nine wins and eight times in their six losses, including four in the past two weeks.

“It’s not necessarily (Stafford’s) injury or anything of that nature, I don’t think, but the really important thing is for us to make certain that we get out of that and get ourselves in position to play well,” coach Jim Caldwell said.