The Los Angeles Rams made the decision to win now and traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford over the weekend. There has been a lot of talk about how the Rams traded away too much, which is fair. Some have also questioned how much better Stafford is than Jared Goff. Well, let’s look at Stafford by the numbers.
3 – Playoff games
Matthew Stafford has played in just three playoff games in his career. He’s lost all three. However, let’s give those games some context. In all three of those games, the Lions were the six seed. In his first career playoff game, he played on the road in New Orleans against a hot Saints team and his defense gave up 45 points.
Three years later, the Lions played at Dallas and this might be Stafford’s best team he played on. The Lions had a top-10 defense and went 11-5. Detroit was leading 20-17 with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter when Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The ball bounced off Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens’ back, a flag was thrown and referee Pete Morelli initially announced a pass interference penalty. However, the flag was picked up and the Lions were forced to punt instead of having a first down in Cowboys territory.
In 2016, the Lions played Seattle on the road and while Stafford threw for 200 yards and no interceptions, the Lions offense scored just six points.
4 – One of four quarterbacks to throw for 4,950 yards in multiple seasons
This isn’t necessarily the type of quarterback that Stafford is anymore. However, when it comes to being one of the more prolific passers in NFL history, Stafford is up there. Only Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger are the other quarterbacks to accomplish this feat. All three have won a Super Bowl.
4 – Head Coaches
Including interim coaches, Stafford has gone through four head coaches during his time in Detroit. Jim Schwartz coached for five years before Jim Caldwell got four seasons. Matt Patricia just got three years and then Darrell Bevel took over. It’s hard to accomplish anything when you don’t have consistency. Two of Stafford’s head coaches have also been defensive-minded. In fact, Stafford’s best results came with an offensive minded Caldwell.
4 – Game-winning drives
Some had said that with Jared Goff as the Rams quarterback, the Rams were winning games in spite of Goff, not because of Goff. The Detroit Lions won five games last year. Stafford had game-winning drives in four of them. Without Stafford, the Lions are arguably a one-win team.
7 – Number of times Stafford threw the ball away
Going into this offseason, it was thought that Sean McVay needed a mobile quarterback. The thing is, it’s not necessarily about a quarterback being mobile. It’s about movability not mobility. Stafford threw the ball away seven times last season. That says that he is someone who is capable of extending the play and would rather try to extend the play than just take a loss of down.
11 – 100-yard rushers
The Detroit Lions have had 11 100-yard rushers in Matthew Stafford’s 160+ game career. The Rams have more than that since 2017 alone. Cam Akers recorded two last season. Stafford has never had the support of a running game. That can take a lot of pressure off of the quarterback. McVay designs his offense around the running game which will be something that Stafford isn’t used to.
15 – Stafford hasn’t thrown more than 15 interceptions since 2013
It’s without question that Goff’s turnovers over the last two seasons have been frustrating for McVay. When you turn the ball over almost 40 times in two years, it hurts the offense. Stafford last had a interceptions percentage above 2% in 2015. Goff’s interceptions percentage has been above two in every season except 2017. That might be the biggest bonus for the Rams offense.
17 – Deep ball rate
Matthew Stafford’s deep ball rate since 2019 is 17%. That is second-most in the NFL. Jared Goff’s was 9% which ranked 31st. Goff’s deep ball accuracy took a hit over the last two seasons. Stafford doesn’t have a good offensive line and still ranked near the top of the league.
The deep ball opens up so much for the Rams offense especially with a quarterback that can hit it. Stafford has the arm and isn’t afraid to let the ball go. This could be very beneficial. To put this even more into perspective, Stafford’s average pass averaged 10.7 yards and 8.7 yards through the air in 2019 and 2020. That ranked first and fifth. Goff’s traveled 7.7 and 6.6 which ranked 22nd and 32nd.
20 – The Rams will be paying Stafford $20M this season
While this trade was about getting Stafford it was also about dumping Goff’s contract. To put it simply, the Rams will be paying Goff more this season than they will the quarterback they just traded for. Restructuring some contracts could move the Rams into the top-10 when it comes to cap space this offseason.
91.8 – Passer rating under pressure
Compare this to Jared Goff’s last season? Stafford’s is double Goff’s as Goff had a 45.9 rating under pressure. Stafford does a much better job than Goff of staying calm under pressure, buying time, and changing his launching point.