Matthew Stafford can’t wait to play in big games instead of 1 o’clock Sunday kickoffs

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Detroit Lions weren’t exactly a major threat in the NFC during Matthew Stafford’s 12-year tenure. They made the playoffs three times, never made it past wild-card weekend and only had four winning seasons.

So it should come as no surprise that the Lions didn’t play in many big games throughout Stafford’s career. Of the 165 games he played, only 22 were in prime time. The spotlight was rarely on Detroit.

Some of that falls on Stafford’s shoulders, which he would tell you himself. But he also didn’t have the best supporting cast, particularly on defense; the Lions finished better than 13th in scoring defense just once in 12 years with Stafford.

Things will be much different in L.A. The Rams had the best defense in football last season and are scheduled to play five prime-time games this season – including in Week 1 against the Bears, a team Stafford knows all too well.

Beyond just playing night games, Stafford wants to compete in meaningful matchups against good teams and make big plays at crucial moments.

“I just want to play in big games, you know? … I want to have opportunities to make big-time plays in the fourth quarter against really good teams, in big moments, rather than a one o’clock game on a Sunday somewhere,” Stafford told Seth Wickersham in a feature story on ESPN.

What quarterback doesn’t want to make a big play in a postseason game to help his team advance? Despite playing on many bad teams in Detroit, Stafford still leads all quarterbacks in fourth-quarter comebacks since he came into the NFL in 2009, bringing the Lions back 31 times in the final 15 minutes.

All-time, he’s third among active quarterbacks, behind only Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Stepping up in big moments is natural for Stafford, and hopefully he can do that quite a few times for the Rams – particularly in the postseason.