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Stafford set to break NFL attempts record, which doesn’t mean much

Matthew Stafford AP

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson set a new NFL record for single-season receiving yards on Saturday night, but he’s not the only Lion who’s getting his name in the record book this season. As we noted last week, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is closing in on the all-time NFL record for pass attempts in a season.

But Stafford said after Saturday night’s game that the attempts record is a function of the Lions having to throw a lot of passes in the fourth quarters of games that they’re losing, and Stafford would much rather be in a situation where he’s handing off while the Lions are protecting a lead in the fourth quarter.

“That attempts is a little bit of a product of being behind in some games late which is obviously not where we want to be,” Stafford said.

Stafford has thrown 685 passes this season, so he’ll almost certainly break Drew Bledsoe’s NFL record of 691 next week against the Bears. But he’s right that he’s throwing more passes this year because the Lions are trailing more in the fourth quarter: In fact, Stafford actually threw more passes in the first, second and third quarters last year (492) than he has this year (429). The difference is that last year the Lions were a winning team, and Stafford only threw 168 passes in the fourth quarter. This year the Lions are a losing team and Stafford has thrown 244 passes in the fourth quarter.

Stafford is also closing in on a second straight 5,000-yard passing season, something he had previously identified as a goal. But after Saturday night’s game, Stafford noted that he wasn’t approaching 5,000 yards the way he wanted to.

“Five thousand yards, I meant I’d love to be able to do it again, but I’d love for it to come with a win. I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win today,” Stafford said.

With Stafford and Megatron, it’s clear that Detroit believes it’s going to have one of the best pass-catch combinations in football for years to come. Now the question is whether the Lions can improve the rest of the roster, so that Stafford and Megatron aren’t putting up eye-popping numbers in a losing cause.

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20 Responses to “Stafford set to break NFL attempts record, which doesn’t mean much”
  1. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:18 AM

    The Lions must be breaking the record for most broken records on a losing team.

  2. lennydpocketqb says: Dec 23, 2012 10:24 AM

    All these records with no glory rings hollow in the minds of most of the NFL. Clearly the D is still rebuilding from the hole they have been placed in during the Matt Millen era.

  3. isphet71 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:24 AM

    Love to get Brees’ names out of the record books for anything. He’s been such a petty jerk the last few years. I used to really like him, but he’s developed entitlement issues since winning the SB.

    Too bad this record is a junk record. But I can’t help but think that it will somehow bother Brees that his name gets knocked out of the record books somehow.

    I can’t wait to see Brady top Brees’ conscutive TD games record. I bet Brees throws a hissy fit.

  4. aboselli says: Dec 23, 2012 10:24 AM

    #1 stat in any sport – attempts

  5. johnnycash19 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:42 AM

    Blame Scott Linehan the OC. That offense is so conservative and predictable its a joke.

    Every 2nd down- Its a run.
    Every time Riley Reiff checks in as a eligible receiver- Its a run.

    3rd and 4 at the 4 and you call a QB draw, then kick the FG in an 8 point game?

    It’s pretty bad when you can call the play sitting at home, or in the stands.

  6. kenorv says: Dec 23, 2012 10:43 AM

    Detroit, and Stafford specifically, seemed more concerned with CJ breaking the receiving yards record than actually winning that game last night. Matt really forced a lot of throws to CJ, the most obvious being that INT.

    If they want to be a perennial playoff contender, they need to 1)become a more disciplined team and 2)develop a running game.

    Discipline starts with the head coach and I don’t think Schwartz is a disciplined individual himself. He seems to be a whack job at times and I think that trickles down to the players. They have so many undisciplined penalties and I think that’s a reflection of the head coach. If they want to be more disciplined, I think they have to change head coaches.

    2)Developing a good running games requires a certain mentality. A mentality that has to be developed in the offseason, in mini camps, training camp all the way through the preseason. Right now I think Detroit is too obsessed with being a big time passing team that they’ve neglected their running game. On top of that Stafford with his poor mechanics, isn’t one of those QB’s that needs to be throwing it nearly as much as he does. He needs to work on his mechanics in the offseason but he also needs to be one of the leaders in helping develop the running game.

    I know that sounds crazy but I look at other great QB’s like Marino and Peyton and how Marino never had a good running game and Peyton hasn’t had a good running game since Edge left. Why is that? I think it’s because those two let their egos get in the way of the team and stunted the development of their running games. Stafford has to get his ego in check, stop worrying about throwing the ball so much and become a leader in developing the running game starting in mini camps. If he’s not on board with that, if he has the same attitude that Marino did his entire career then Detroit will never be a good running team with Stafford at QB.

    TL;DR – coach and QB are the problem in Detroit

  7. zengreaser says: Dec 23, 2012 10:46 AM

    @ lennydpocketqb – The Lions D is not suffering from any lingering effects of the Millen era. He’s been gone 4 years & the team is entirely different. The problem with the Lions defense (at least from the perspective of someone who is not a Lions fan) is that management doesn’t draft particularly well on that side of the ball. Outside of a couple early-round, big name selections (who mostly occupy positions in the front 7), they don’t seem to hit on solid players for the D – especially when it comes to the secondary. They’ve put together a dangerous offense, that’s for sure. But only when they can put together a D that is capable of defending the pass will they be a dangerous TEAM.

  8. green41563 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:54 AM

    The number of attempts taints Calvin Johnson’s record a little bit.

  9. chaseutley says: Dec 23, 2012 10:58 AM

    Still, back-to-back 5K years would be a pretty special thing. As far as I know, it’s never been done before.

    20 years from now, nobody will care about how many attempts he had. They’ll just talk about that 2012 season when he (and/or Brees and Brady) became the first to do it.

  10. 49erclaven says: Dec 23, 2012 11:16 AM

    Everyone is caught up in their running game. How about a pass rush and some corners that can play man to man. Two stud DT’s and no one else on that defense.

  11. wwmsgrr says: Dec 23, 2012 11:25 AM

    @kenorv

    Calvin had 16 targets 11 of which he caught (and 1 which was a wide open drop). I don’t know how you can claim that they were forcing throws into him when they had that kind of success.

  12. yankeemofo says: Dec 23, 2012 11:50 AM

    isphet71 says:
    Dec 23, 2012 10:24 AM
    Love to get Brees’ names out of the record books for anything.
    ——————————————-

    I think that’s the wrong Drew you’re talking about…who could POSSIBLY be a Bledsoe hater?

  13. fievel03 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:05 PM

    @kevnorv
    “Stafford has to get his ego in check, stop worrying about throwing the ball so much and become a leader in developing the running game starting in mini camps. ”

    You do realize that it’s the OC Linehan that calls the plays, and not the quarterback, don’t you?

  14. danielgraham82 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:05 PM

    Guy needs to learn to put the slightest bit of touch on the ball instead if slinging fastballs at RB’s 5 yards away from him.

  15. istateyourname says: Dec 23, 2012 12:38 PM

    Also means he didn’t get hurt, played all the games.

  16. edwinmoses says: Dec 23, 2012 12:42 PM

    I hope your real proud of you record Drew. Try throwing some TD’s next time

  17. eatitfanboy says: Dec 23, 2012 12:45 PM

    Last night was the first time I really paid attention to a Lions game and I will say this: Matthew Stafford is a really good QB.

    How many QBs could put up the numbers he does with exactly ONE legitimate threat to throw to?

    To complete that many balls to the one guy on the field everyone knows you are going to throw to requires a very accurate arm, because there will always be defenders around him.

    I was very impressed with his poise and accuracy.

  18. edwinmoses says: Dec 23, 2012 12:47 PM

    danielgraham82 says: Dec 23, 2012 12:05 PM

    Guy needs to learn to put the slightest bit of touch on the ball instead if slinging fastballs at RB’s 5 yards away from him
    —————————————————————————
    That and Joique Bell needs to learn how to catch a ball 5 yards away from him.

  19. ghjjf says: Dec 23, 2012 1:09 PM

    Maybe the Lions should concentrate on winning (or even getting to) a Superbowl instead of meaningless records like receiving yards, pass attempts, and games lost.

  20. jtmartinez34 says: Dec 23, 2012 2:02 PM

    The Lions are meaningless. Who cares about Mrs. Sidearm anyway.

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