Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford signed a massive contract extension recently, which might not have been the prediction of anyone who was at the team’s game against the Cardinals on October 11, 2015.
Stafford got benched in the third quarter after throwing his third interception on a day that ended with the Lions losing 42-17 to fall to 0-5 on the season. With the Cardinals on the schedule in Week One, Stafford was asked on Wednesday to reminisce about that day.
“I was frustrated just like any player would be, any competitor would be, ’cause, shoot, I’ve been in that situation a bunch of times and thrown some touchdowns and brought us back,” Stafford said, via the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, it’s frustrating, but at the same time you understand where your coach is coming from, you learn from it and you move on.”
The Lions promoted Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator a couple of weeks later and Stafford has completed 66 percent of his passes with 50 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in the 27 regular season games since the benching. He had 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in his first 21 games under head coach Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell called it “absolutely irrelevant” to connect that game with anything that’s happened since then.
“If you’re inferring that it had anything to do with the benching, I’d tell you no,” Caldwell said. “I’d tell you no because the guy is the same guy. Same drive, same will. It doesn’t mean he’s going to always have a perfect game, but Matthew’s a pretty special individual.”
Be that as it may, but the Lions are 16-11 in the regular season since that game and Stafford’s play has been a major reason why the team’s found more success. One game may not have represented the turning point, but the Lions are certainly better off now than they were the last time they faced the Cardinals.