It was moments like Sunday Matthew Stafford craved after leaving the Detroit Lions to join the star-studded Rams. After exiting, Stafford didn’t sling mud at the organization; he was always the pros pro on and off the football field.
I always believed he was too amicable when it came to roster decisions; sure, you don’t want your quarterback to be the general manager, but it’s nice when they can give their two cents when it comes to roster decisions. Stafford never flexed and forced the Ford family’s hand, I respect him for it, but part of me wishes he pushed the envelope a bit more than he did and pushed to add specific players in free agency or the NFL Draft.
Over the last couple of seasons, we’ve seen young and old quarterbacks lobby for specific weapons. Second-year man Joe Burrow lobbied the Bengals to draft his college teammate, Ja’Marr Chase. Although it eventually imploded, Tom Brady got Antonio Brown in Tampa Bay when the organization had no desire to employ him.
Matthew Stafford beat Tom Brady in the most Brady-like way possible.
Matthew Stafford led the Rams to a walk-off 30-27 victory on a drive that started at their own 25-yard line with 40 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. If that isn’t the most Brady-like thing you’ve ever seen, you haven’t been paying attention over the past two decades.
After an abundance of offensive mishaps, including two Cam Akers fumbles, one of which came late in the fourth quarter with the Rams ahead of the Buccaneers by seven points, in turn, handing the ball back to Tom Brady, who led Tampa Bay to a tying score that came on a Lenoard Fournette fourth-down touchdown run.
With less than a minute left, knotted at 27, rather than bleeding the clock out and playing for overtime, Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense without any timeouts charged down the field on the heels of a massive pass to Cooper Kupp on the sideline. A deep ball followed that to Kupp, who was matched up man-to-man with a safety.
Clearly, Bucs’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles hadn’t watched much film on Matthew Stafford over the years, or he wouldn’t dare play cover zero in that situation. Cover zero with the best quarterback/receiver connection in the league this season is a death sentence, and that’s exactly what it proved to be for the Buccaneers season.
Shockingly, Bowles didn’t elect to play with a two-high safety look, having the defense keep everything in front of them having the defenders rally to the football knowing Los Angeles had been without a timeout. Plus, Rams’ placekicker Matt Guy came up short on a 47-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game.
Stafford went 28-38, throwing for 366 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak. It’s been highly documented ahead of the postseason that Stafford had never won a playoff game, now he’s won two in a row with only the San Francisco 49ers standing in the way of a Super Bowl berth. Breaking news, Matthew Stafford was never the problem in Detroit.
The 49ers have beat the Rams six times in a row and are 7-1 over their last eight contests, so next weekend is anything but a gimme.