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Lions QB Stafford has been on fire since LT Taylor Decker returned

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) pressures Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) in overtime at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions won 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings’ defense did their job against Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford the first time around, sacking him six times and holding the veteran QB to only 209 yards, zero touchdowns. But since Stafford’s left tackle Taylor Decker came back from an injury, he’s been blazing hot.

In the last two games, Stafford has completed 72.2% of his passes, averaged an incredible 10.3 yards per attempt and posted a quarterback rating of 127.1.

Heading into the Vikings-Lions October 1 matchup, pass rusher Everson Griffen said backup left tackle Greg Robinson was “lazy,” then Griffen promptly dominated the game. This time around, he’s showing respect to Decker.

“Greg Robinson, he was lazy, but this guy’s a good player, I just call it like it is,” Griffen said. “We’re going to battle. He’s a good player, we’re going to battle. I feel like any time they give me an opportunity with enough rushes I can wear a guy down because my motor never stops.”

“He’s a good tackle, he’s real good,” Griffen added. “He works hard. I’m excited. I like going up against great players.”

Griffen has done battle with Stafford 14 times during his career and has 9.5 sacks in those games.

The Vikings’ D-end has seen a change in how Detroit’s quarterback handles pressure. Namely, he’s willing to take off more often.

“He runs the ball,” Griffen said. “He doesn’t just sit in the pocket and get hit. He runs a lot more. Any time he pulls it down he’s looking to run, in big-time situations he’s looking to run the ball to make a big play.”

Last year, Stafford set a career high in rushing yards with 207 and escaped the Vikings’ rush during a key drive on Thanksgiving day. He’s picked up only 85 yards on the ground this year, but 51 of those yards have come on third down, where Stafford has five rush downs in nine rush attempts. All but five of his rushing yards have come when the Lions are either tied or trailing.

Over the last three games between Stafford and the Vikings’ defense, Detroit’s franchise QB has not posted a higher QB rating than 87.6, but he’s won all three close games. At US Bank Stadium last year, he led an overtime drive to win, then a game-tying drive on Thanksgiving and a seven-point victory earlier this year.

  • Jordan Musser

    Matthew Coller I used to like your articles but over the past few weeks I have seen your biased opinions of every qb is better than Keenum and you pick out every flaw in his game. This is just another great example. Stafford has been on fire? Really? Falling behind multiple times to the Browns and Bears while throwing ints and throwing for 290 yards and a couple tds against the Bears is “on fire” but 307 with 4tds and then 280 with 1td and zero turnovers and winner of 6 straight calls for a replacement? You make me sick

    • David Prestin

      Their seems to be an agenda at 1500 this year. I guess if you bad mouth the QB long enough he’ll eventually be part of a defeat and then you can say I told you so. 8-2 isn’t good enough…and the Detroit game was due to 3 fumbles.

      • Sn Mr

        Bring on Detroit! Thielen and Jet do not plan on putting the ball on the turf.

    • Matthew Coller

      Man, you got some issues with facts, Jordan. You left out 2 INTs against Washington that nearly allowed them to come back in the game and…. find where I said they should bench Keenum now and send that over to me. Oh wait, I didn’t. Also – I guess the head coach makes you sick too because he didnt give Keenum much love following either game.

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  • DBender2

    Every team would take Stafford not very many teams would take keenum. That’s why he jumps around the league like Brian Hoyer. Give Stafford that run game and defense the Vikings are undefeated.

    • David Prestin

      You can’t have it that way. 150$ million for your QB doesn’t allow you to have the rest. That’s why Brady restructures all the time.

      • DBender2

        Brady is the only one who does. Rodgers, Brees, Wilson, and luck all make over 20 million and I believe sam Bradford Is making close to 20 million this year as well. Staffords contract is 135 not 150 so he’s makes 27 million a year. Just 8 or so million more than Bradford who doesn’t play

        • David Prestin

          Thx for making my point…only Brady has super bowl rings and not just one ring either. None of the others have won it after they got the big bucks.


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