Lions' Matthew Stafford becomes fastest to 40,000 career passing yards
Detroit — Matthew Stafford has added yet another passing record to a resume filled with them.
With a 36-yard completion to Danny Amendola in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, the longtime Detroit Lions quarterback reached 40,000 career passing yards in 147 games, the fewest in history, besting Atlanta's Matt Ryan, who accomplished the feat in 151 games.
Stafford entered the day needing just 87 yards to hit the milestone.
"I hope 40,000 isn’t the last number I hit," Stafford said earlier in during the week. "I’d like to keep playing and play well. The biggest thing for me is I just want to get the bad taste out of my mouth of losing two in a row. I just want to win a game. If I throw for 86 (yards) and we win, I’ll be happy as hell."
Stafford setting passing records has been commonplace in the years since the Lions selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009. He holds nearly every meaningful franchise mark and his 273.4 yards per game entering Sunday is the third-most in NFL history, behind Drew Brees and the recently retired Andrew Luck.
Additionally, Stafford has started 134 consecutive games, the sixth-longest streak by a quarterback in league history.
"I think when you step back and look at stuff like that, I think it’s just pretty amazing," Lions coach Matt Patricia said this week. "I think it goes to his resiliency and his drive and his competitiveness that he shows every single day.
"To be honest with you, we were just having a conversation and comparing some notes on Minnesota — it just takes me back a minute every single time that he and I have those conversations just how hard this guy works, how competitive he is, how much he wants to win, how much he just continually leads this team. That’s why you hear something like that or a stat like that and you’re like, ‘It’s super impressive, and it’s super amazing,’ but I also kind of step back, and I look at it and I go, ‘Yeah, that’s about right,’ because that’s just who the guy is. I think he’s just that driven."
At his current pace, Stafford has an outside shot to become the most prolific passer in NFL history. Assuming he stays healthy, he'll be 18th on the list by the end of this season, passing Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana in the process.
The leaderboard is littered with active players, including Brees and New England's Tom Brady (Michigan), who rank first and second, respectively. Brees, who is currently out with a thumb injury, has thrown for 74,845 yards during his career.
Stafford likely would need to remain relatively healthy another 10 seasons to end his career as the NFL's yardage king.