Detroit Lions New Offensive System Increasing Matthew Stafford’s Efficiency Exponentially

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Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford Seems To Be At A Different Level In This Offense. 


For most of this write up I’ll be ignoring week one as a fluke game where the system hadn’t taken effect yet and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a very off day. First, let’s look at his stats on the season. Even including the first game his efficiency will be the best it’s been since he began his career. Taking that anomaly game out of the equation his interception ratio is currently 0.59%, which will be by far the lowest of his career. Also, his passer rating will be 115.1. He has yet to crest the 100 mark over a season. His completion percentage will also be the highest it has so far at 70.96%, a significant increase from any other year.

OPP RESULT CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG LNG TD INT RAT
@ W 32-21 18 22 217 81.8 9.86 29 2 0 138.1
MIA
vs W 31-23 14 26 183 53.8 7.04 60 2 0 101.9
GB
@ L 24-26 24 30 307 80 10.23 45 2 0 131.5
DAL
vs W 26-10 27 36 262 75 7.28 33 2 1 101.9
NE
@ L 27-30 34 53 347 64.2 6.55 67 3 0 101.7
SF
Totals 117 167 1,316 70.96 8.19 67 11 1 115.1

A large factor of the lower risk throws that Stafford has had to make has come down to the offensive strategy that the Detroit Lions are implementing this year. His air yards on average per game have dropped by over 10 yards per game from last campaign. He’s relying a lot more on the receivers YAC abilities combined with his running backs setting up more manageable second and third downs. The emergence of wide receiver Kenny Golladay as a reliable target has lessened the need for Stafford to take risky chances. This means less throwing to wide receiver Marvin Jones where he is covered and hoping he comes down with the ball. This has been a major factor in his increase in efficiency when passing the ball.

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OPP RESULT CMP ATT YDS CMP% AVG LNG TD INT RAT
@ W 32-21 18 22 217 81.8 9.86 29 2 0 138.1
MIA
vs W 31-23 14 26 183 53.8 7.04 60 2 0 101.9
GB
@ L 24-26 24 30 307 80 10.23 45 2 0 131.5
DAL
vs W 26-10 27 36 262 75 7.28 33 2 1 101.9
NE
@ L 27-30 34 53 347 64.2 6.55 67 3 0 101.7
SF
vs L 17-48 27 46 286 58.7 6.22 28 1 4 47.9
NYJ
Totals 144 213 1,602 67.6 7.52 67 12 5 98.8

Also as mentioned above the manageable second and third downs have helped Stafford. Play calling is allowing for more simple completions and routes that become open sooner. The fact that running backs Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount are giving the Lions 2nd and 6 or 3rd and 2 means a shorter more dink and dunk style offence than we are used to as Detroit Lions fans, but personally am grateful to have.

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One group that does deserve credit though is how the offensive line has helped Stafford out in this category. The offensive line has performed a whole lot better as a unit. Having more stability with everyone and his dog not going down injured it has kept Stafford upright for a lot longer in games. Allowing him to scan the field and find an open man rather than fitting the ball into windows that many other quarterbacks wouldn’t dream of attempting.

Overall the yardage at the end of this season might not look like it was his best season to date but taking everything into account I believe this will be Stafford’s best year as a pro. To me, the efficiency as a quarterback is the most important thing to look at. That is what Stafford is providing.

Thanks for checking out the article everyone. Let me know what you think on Twitter@Alex_Watt_Lions and be sure to join the community on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Alex Watt
Alex is a Detroit Lions fan from the UK, his love for the Lions came about from the fact he loves an underdog story and he believes the Lions embody that pretty well! He has a particular love for the defensive side of the ball and he favourite player is Darius "Big Play" Slay, although he has a soft spot for Glover Quin. When he isn't writing for the DetroitLionsPodcast he enjoys gym and sports, playing American Football himself.