The good news for the Lions is that quarterback Matthew Stafford is having perhaps the best season of his career. The bad news is that the Lions’ defense is putting him in a position where he has to throw the ball, a lot.
That’s why, despite the offseason talk that new Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell favored a run-first offense, Stafford is on pace to lead the NFL in passing yards. Stafford is first in the NFL with an average of 312.4 passing yards per game.
But here’s the problem: Stafford often passes a lot because the Lions are losing and he has to. In fact, in the three games the Lions have won this year, Stafford has averaged 263 passing yards. In the five games the Lions didn’t win (four losses and a tie), Stafford has averaged 342 passing yards.
That includes Sunday’s game in Oakland, when Stafford passed for a season-high 406 yards, but the Lions lost 31-24. Stafford threw the ball well, but the Lions’ defense couldn’t stop the Raiders’ offense.
Stafford has never led the league in passing yards. That may change this year. He has also never won a playoff game. That won’t change this year.