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Matthew Stafford is going through some stuff

He hasn’t been consistently good since Halloween

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a while since Matt Stafford was consistently good. How long is “a while” in NFL terms? Almost a full season. It’s not crisis time in Ramsland, but a pained look is warranted.

The Los Angeles Rams have obviously thrived in the trophy case despite Stafford’s medium-sized slump. Because it helps to have game-wreckers like Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald and Von Miller when your quarterback is slinging slop. And right now he is launching prayers downfield like the reincarnation of Brett Favre.

Who doesn’t remember this next play? The Rams trailed the 2021 NFCCG by three points with fewer than ten minutes left when Stafford YOLO’d this ball into centerfield. Jaquiski Tartt could’ve called for a fair catch, he had so much time to settle underneath.

The San Francisco 49ers didn’t lose because Tartt’s butters were shaped like fingers. For all we know San Fran is punting a minute later. But the Rams did tie the game later on the suddenly undead drive. Without that score, who’s to say how it plays out? Not worse for the Niners, I’ll tell you that.

Exhibit two: who doesn’t remember how hot Stafford started his tenure in LA? It was the stuff MVP campaigns are made of. 22 TDs and one billion yards in eight games. Passer rating through the roof for the 7-1 darlings* of the NFL.

*some restrictions apply.

It’s after Halloween that Stafford mutated from scary good to just plain scary. Witness:

A Tale of Two Staffords

Games TD / INT Rating Y / A Sacks
Games TD / INT Rating Y / A Sacks
1-8 22 / 4 118 9.1 7
9-17 19 / 13 90.4 7.3 23

Aaron Rodgers in the first half, Baker Mayfield in the second half. That’s... a drop-off.

(Why Mayfield? The former Brown and new Panther had 7.2 YPA and a 17/13 TD/INT ratio. A virtual stat twin for Matt.)

Exhibit three: In the 2022 opener, scant hours ago, Stafford got picked three times. Meaning his cute little recovery in the first two rounds of the playoffs has been completely undone. Since the 2021 season ended, the Rams QB has had another Dr. Jyde and Mr. Hekyll moment.

2 Tale 2 Stafford

Games TD / INT Rating Y / A Sacks
Games TD / INT Rating Y / A Sacks
WC & Div. 4 / 0 131.5 10.3 3
Since 6 / 6 83.4 6.8 11

In the second row, Stafford is doing his very best Geno Smith imitation. At this rate the Seattle Seahawks might field the division’s second best quarterback this weekend and that’s only a warm take.

Stafford’s first pick from Week 1 is ugly. (Week 1! We are in Week 1! It’s actually here!)

The second one isn’t entirely his fault but if you’re going to throw over the middle, best not leave it high because anything can happen.

At least on the third one Stafford laid down some wood. Wouldn’t you?

The Rams aren’t going to give up on Stafford — for whom they sent Detroit two firsts and third — after a few bad outings, but we’re getting closer and closer to many bad outings, and eventually you’ve got a whole season of bad outings in the rear view mirror. Then what?

Exhibit four, and final: Richard Sherman enters the fray. Let’s simply say the former Seahawks great was nonplussed by Stafford’s 2022 debut, and recent track record.

Thanks for the support, Sherm.

Staff’s next pick six, his 28th (!), will tie Joe Namath for the most all-time. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds because Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are also sitting on 27, so at least the company is good. But if he wants to set that milestone against the Seahawks later this season, who are we to say no?