Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is coming off of a season in which he led his franchise to its first Super Bowl in two decades.
It was also the first Super Bowl win of his career, and one of the best statistical years of his 13 seasons, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions.
So what made Stafford so successful?
After some digging by USA Today’s Touchdown Wire, Stafford was the NFL’s Best in two key categories.
First up, three-step drops.
Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, and Joe Burrow all had higher passer ratings than Stafford did with three-stop drops, but none of those quarterbacks were able to match Stafford’s impressive touchdown-to-interception ratio. Stafford as always had his reckless moments, but the three-step game seemed to bring out the best in him. Perhaps it’s that the longer Stafford has to drop back, the more time he has to get “creative,” both to his benefit and to his detriment.
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Another key area in which Stafford excelled was against pressure, where he was the top passer in the NFL against five or more pass rushers.
In those specific situations, Stafford had the league’s top passer rating at 140.0 and out dueled his Super Bowl counterpart, Joe Burrow (123.8) and division rival Russell Wilson (123.6) by a significant margin.
Against five or more pass-rushers last season, Stafford completed 112 of 151 passes for 1,398 yards, 724 air yards, 17 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 140.0. For context, Joe Burrow had the second-best rating against the blitz among quarterbacks blitzed at least 50 times last season at 123.8, and Russell Wilson finished third at 123.6. So, Stafford stood apart in this way in a very clear fashion in 2021.
So can Stafford keep it up in 2022? Only time will tell. But despite the losses of Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, and potentially Odell Beckham Jr., it appears the Rams offense may have gotten even deadlier.
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