Matt Stafford is Succeeding Without Calvin Johnson

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What People Believed Wasn’t Possible, Matt Stafford is Proving Them Wrong

“Matt Stafford is nothing without Calvin Johnson.”

          “Stafford was only good because he had Megatron.”

                    “Get rid of Megatron, and Stafford is nothing.”

                              “Stafford can’t win without Calvin.”

You’re wrong.

Fans of the Detroit Lions and around the NFL had many things to say when Calvin Johnson retired. Stafford doesn’t have respect from a minority of Lions fans, but many fans of this team believe in him. Others think we should trade him and move on. Those haters came out even more when Megatron retired as they said things like the examples above.

Joe Lombardi hurt Matt Stafford and made him regress in a way. He decreased in yards while increasing in touchdowns and keeping his interceptions at a steady pace. Still, those numbers weren’t great. Jim Bob Cooter came in and saved the day. Since taking over, Stafford has looked better than ever and part of it has been without Calvin.

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When Having Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford Impressed

You can’t deny that with Megatron, Stafford did well. Throughout his career Stafford has had one of the best wide receivers at his disposal. He was a great safety net and something that Stafford leaned on at times, helping the Lions win games and costing the team wins as well. It was a double edged sword that affected Stafford.

Looking back at the last eight games last year with Jim Bob Cooter at the Offensive Coordinator spot, Stafford completed 205 out of 293 passes, with a 70.8% completion percentage, getting 2,179 yards, 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Those numbers are better than the first eight with Joe Lombardi. Looking at those numbers you have to think the majority were to Johnson and that without him the Lions were nothing. Well, six of those 19 touchdowns were to Johnson, along with only 555 yards on 40 catches.

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2016 is Almost the Same as Before

Now with eight games under his belt without Calvin Johnson, Stafford is showing around the same type of numbers.

He has completed 191 passes on 282 attempts, getting a 67.7 completion percentage, throwing for 2,154 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Stafford is on pace to throw for 4,308 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. This would be a career best in interceptions as the least amount Stafford has thrown in a full season was 12.

When looking at the last eight games of last year and the first eight games of this year, you can see that without Johnson, Stafford is putting up similar numbers. Sure he has more interceptions and less yards, but he wasn’t supposed to come close to these numbers according to many fans and analysts.

He was suppose to fall off. He was supposed to regress. He was supposed to be traded and not a part of this team after Johnson left.

But he is still here and doing better than ever. That is why Matt Stafford is a great quarterback and even without one of the best receivers in the game, he can still dominate because he is a quarterback that we Lions fans should be thankful to have.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.