Stafford was playing at an MVP level when his season ended last year after eight games because of a back injury. Last year, he passed for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns with five interceptions, completed 64.3% of passes and had a 106.0 passer rating midway through the season.
It’s early, but this year Stafford’s number pale in comparison. Through two games, he has 58.7% completion rate and an 83.3 passer rating. He’s on pace for 4,328 yards, 24 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Not terrible. But not great. Or, as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell put it Tuesday, “solid.”
“I think he’s been solid, but I do believe that there’s some plays that we’d like to have back and we’re continuing to work on those things,” Bevell said in a conference call. “He’s his own hardest critic, which is always good, particularly at that position, but we can play better.”
Stafford has led the offense to quick starts both weeks. But he and the offense have gone cold quickly. They’ve scored only 17 combined points in the second half of both games.
In the loss to Green Bay, Stafford didn’t play poorly, but he took at least one bad sack and the pick-six interception he through to Chandon Sullivan midway through the third quarter put the Packers up, 31-14, and ended any realistic chance at a comeback.
Adrian Peterson missed a block on Packers linebacker Rashan Gary that created intense pressure on Stafford. But Bevell didn’t single out Peterson or Stafford for being most at fault on the pick.
“Well, the first thing is we’ve got to take care of protection,” Bevell said. “They did have pressure, but there’s other responsibilities going on. I don’t want to put it on any one guy. But we have to have 11 guys working together. If you don’t have that, then that can cause problems.
“We had a little bit of a problem with the protection and then he has to get rid of it sooner than he needed to. He put it out in the flat to Danny (Amendola), there was also, I think you can see if you watch the clip, you can see (Marvin Jones’) side was in a good spot, and good air right there. But with what we had going on with protection, we weren’t able to get to that.”
Swift making progress
Peterson continues to be the Lions’ most effective rusher. But rookie D’Andre Swift played more snaps than any running back for the second week and continues to develop as he makes up for lost time in the offseason and an injury in training camp.
Swift’s 20 snaps on offense were one more than Kerryon Johnson played. Swift managed just 12 yards on five carries, but he had a team-high five catches for 60 yards.
“Well, you’ve got to remember what’s been going on with D’Andre,” Bevell said. “He hadn’t had very much offensive time with us in training camp. And so just kind of bringing him along, seeing the kind of things that he’s able to do and just adding things a little bit probably more slowly than we would’ve liked, but just getting him up to speed. You’ll continue to see him in there in different capacities really.”
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Darrell Bevell says Matthew Stafford's been 'solid' so far. Here's why