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Did Matthew Stafford "Pad" His Stats in 2019?

Logan Lamorandier explores whether Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford "padded" his stats in 2019

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been on a record pace to start his career. 

It’s been well-documented that Stafford needed the fewest games in NFL history to reach 40,000 passing yards. No doubt about it, Stafford has been prolific in the stats department. 

Last year was no different. And actually, it was one of the best starts he has ever had to a season.

In 2019, Stafford was once again on pace for just under a 5,000-yard season, before being sidelined with a back injury. 

In his eight games played, he had 2,499 passing yards. 

At the time of his injury, Stafford was averaging the most passing yards per game (312.4) in the entire NFL. 

However, the Lions, as a team, still held just a 3-4-1 record. 

The lack of wins have always been the biggest complaint from Stafford detractors.

Yet, there is still a narrative surrounding Stafford that he can't seem to shake.

He only gets all of his gaudy numbers because of what many call “garbage time” -- a point in a game where the opposing defense just plays prevent and allows quarterbacks to rack up meaningless yards. 

Oddly enough, the Lions held a lead in the fourth quarter at some point in every game with Stafford under center. Hard to point to the fourth quarter of any game last season and call it “garbage time” stats.

No matter the case, Stafford’s percentage of total yards coming from the fourth quarter were actually below the 2019 league average (26.1 percent).

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Only 24.2 percent of Stafford’s yards came in the fourth quarter, to go along with a 111.6 passer rating. 

Basically, Stafford just threw for more yards than most in every quarter -- not just the fourth.

Just for reference, here is the percentage of yards that were from the fourth quarter among notable NFL quarterbacks in 2019.

2019 4thQ yards

Now, there are plenty of unique situations that can skew the percentage of yards thrown in the fourth quarter. 

As with any stat, there is always more to the story. But, nevertheless, it’s interesting to compare and give some perspective. 

At the very least, it would appear that Stafford was not just accumulating meaningless stats in 2019.


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