Matthew Stafford’s Passes Being Dropped at Highest Rate in NFL
The Detroit Lions are going into Week 6, coming off their bye, with a 1-3 record.
Obviously, there is a handful of issues with the Matt Patricia-led team -- mostly on the defensive side of the ball.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been plenty of struggles on the offensive side of the ball, as well.
The offensive issues just pale in comparison to the Lions' porous defense.
Through four games this season, the Lions' high expectations for their passing attack have sputtered.
A lot of blame can be placed upon none other than Stafford up to this point.
There have been uncharacteristic off-target passes, turnover-worthy throws and poor pocket presence shown by the usually reliable signal-caller.
Who knows if it’s just some rust or if it's Stafford pressing a little too much, knowing that the defense is likely to give up points on just about every drive.
However, not every problem in the passing game can be put on Stafford.
Lack of receiver separation, spotty blocking upfront at times and maybe the worst aspect, dropped passes, are all also to blame for Detroit's passing game woes.
Remember -- and it’s hard to forget -- a dropped pass in the end zone resulted in a Lions loss in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
Now, every analytical website has its own tracking mechanism for passes dropped.
After all, it is a bit of a subjective statistic.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Lions have logged 12 dropped balls on Stafford’s 134 total passing attempts, excluding spikes and throwaways.
That means that nine percent of Stafford’s throws have gone through the receiver’s hands -- the highest percentage in the entire NFL.
Below is a breakdown of all the players and their drops.
As you can see, the sure-handed Swift leads the Lions in drops, and he had the most crucial drop of all in the final seconds of the season opener.
His three drops match his entire drop total from his time at Georgia.
In 2019, Swift didn’t let a single ball hit the turf for the Bulldogs, according to Pro Football Focus.
Hopefully, his reliable hands in college can translate to the NFL.
At the very least, he has demonstrated the ability to consistently get open. Now, he just needs to finish the play.
Overall, plenty of Detroit receivers could use some work on securing the catch.
It’s not fair to only pick on Swift.
Actually, none of the running backs have been very dependable.
Due to how the team is structured, this team needs the passing attack to carry the team.
Yes, Stafford needs to find his 2019 form, but the receivers need to also be better catching the ball when the opportunities present themselves, as well.
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