The legend of Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford began yesterday.
Stafford threw for five touchdowns and a rookie-record 422 yards, as the Lions rallied for a 38-37 victory over the Cleveland Browns. However, that isn’t quite the whole story.
Stafford threw the game-winning touchdown pass with zero seconds on the clock after suffering a shoulder injury on a brutal hit by Cleveland’s C.J. Mosley. Backup Daunte Culpepper actually came on the field, but after a Browns timeout, Stafford reappeared to lead his team to victory.
You know, like a wounded Willis Reed running out of the tunnel for game seven of the 1970 NBA Finals.
Actually, not quite like that. These are the Lions we’re talking about. They did only win their second game of the year.
I will say this, though. Stafford has the makings of a great quarterback. I turned to the A.J. Hawk jersey-wearing guy at the bar yesterday morning (he says he bought it prior to last season), and said the very words I put in the lead of this post: “The Matthew Stafford legend begins now.”
Unfortunately, no one in Detroit saw the game. It didn’t sell out and was blacked out on local television.
Anyway, the final play was impressive because Stafford was in obvious pain. He grabbed his shoulder immediately afterwards and winced in pain. It’s unclear what’s wrong with Stafford’s shoulder, but preliminary tests indicated he didn’t break anything.
However, it isn’t looking likely that Stafford will play on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.
Before we anoint Stafford as the next coming of Peyton Manning, let’s keep in mind that he did all of this against the Cleveland Browns. Yeah, you know – the worst team in the NFL. The team with the stupidest coach in the history of coaching. Those guys.
Still, it’s a nice step for a guy previously only known around these parts for chasing poon. Who knows, maybe one day the Detroit Lions can be respectable again and maybe Stafford is the guy to lead them there.
Of course, without him, respectability is going to be hard to come by when the Packers roll into town.