Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford entered the NFL in 2009. And he has never won a playoff game. That lack of postseason success looms over the Rams as a wild-card game at SoFi Stadium approaches.
Does Stafford need to prove he can win a playoff game?
“No,” coach Sean McVay role reporters on Thursday. “He has an established resume. That’s something that you want to be able to do, but he was instrumental in leading us to our first division title that we’ve had since 2018. That’s a big deal, but now it’s the next step. His body of work speaks for itself, and I don’t think you can just confine it into, ‘Oh, he hasn’t won a playoff game.'”
But he still hasn’t. Does Stafford feel pressure to do so?
“Every time I step on the field, I’m proving myself,” Stafford told reporters, “whether it’s a preseason game, a regular-season game, practice, a playoff game. I want to go out there and play well. This is just another opportunity to do that. This is a team game. There is no question. But at the same time, do I know that when the quarterback plays a good game, you got a better chance to win the game? Absolutely. So I’m always trying to go out there and play as good of football as I possibly can to help our team win. . . . If you step on the football field, and you don’t feel pressure to go out there and perform, then something’s wrong with you in my opinion. It’s positive pressure that I put on myself to go out there and help our team win.”
In L.A., Stafford has more help when it comes to helping his team win.
“We got all the pieces,” linebacker Von Miller told reporters on Thursday, “coaching wise, player wise, personnel wise, all over the facility. I think that’s for all of us. I don’t think it’s just for Matthew Stafford. I think it’s for all of us. [G.M. Les Snead has] assembled a Super Bowl team and we just want to go out there and play and get it done. We got a great team, we got a great opportunity. Like I said before, I just [have] been praying to God to prepare us for our opportunity whenever it presents itself.”
Still, Stafford has thrown eight interceptions in his last four games. He needs to avoid that in the single-elimination round.
“The standards that he has for himself and one of the things I love the most about this guy is, the first thing he’s going to do is take extreme ownership and accountability for the things he can do better,” McVay said. “There’s an occupational hazard on some of the turnovers. As a competitor, they certainly don’t all fall on him, but the answer is yes. I’m very pleased with him and [I’m] looking forward to playing clean ball in the in the postseason, trusting his teammates, playing the way that he’s capable of. And if he just plays within himself, I trust really good things will happen for this team.”
It starts with the Cardinals coming to town on Monday night. Win and advance. Lose, and end up one level short of where the Rams got last year with Jared Goff at quarterback.