Matthew Stafford Comes of Age

Sometimes you just feel it. And on Sunday, staring a loss in the face, the QB felt it, leading the Lions to an inexplicable victory and growing up a lot in the process. Plus, more of my thoughts from an offense-heavy Week 8

Two months down, two to go. Time flies when you’re having fun. The Lions had some fun Sunday, and the resurgent Staffords will lead the column … but some headlines first:

• Mike Pouncey might want to get lawyered up. As Pete Thamel and Greg A. Bedard reported Sunday night, the Massachusetts state police served the Miami Dolphins center with a Grand Jury subpoena after his game in Foxboro Sunday. “What’s this about?’’ Pouncey said when a gray-suited officer handed him the papers. It created a strange scene outside the Dolphins locker room at Gillette Stadium, with stunned Miami officials totally blindsided. Pouncey, too, evidently had no idea what was coming. A source told Thamel that the serving of the papers is related to the ugly Aaron Hernandez case. The source said the authorities are focusing on Hernandez’s potential involvement in interstate gun trafficking. Yikes. Pouncey is a good friend of Hernandez’s dating back to their days together at Florida. Does this mean Pouncey is guilty of anything? No. It could be a way for the authorities to build a stronger case against Hernandez, who is in jail charged with murder.

• Alex Smith: The gift that keeps on giving. Just like Clark Griswold’s Jelly of the Month Club present, the Kansas City quarterback brought more joy to two fanbases Sunday. In lifting the Chiefs to a 23-17 victory over Cleveland at home, Smith continued KC’s perfect (8-0) season. The eighth win also meant the 49ers, who traded Smith to Kansas City so he could run Andy Reid’s West Coast offense this season, would receive an improved draft choice as the second part of the trade. The original trade was Smith for a second-round pick in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 … but the third- in ’14 would become a second- if the Chiefs won eight games or more this season. That happened by mid-afternoon Sunday, as the Niners were trudging off the field at Wembley Stadium in London after whipping Jacksonville 42-10. As if San Francisco draft guru Trent Baalke needed more ammo, he now could be looking at six picks in the first three rounds next May: his own first-, second- and third-rounders, plus the second-rounder for Smith, a third-rounder from Tennessee from a draft-weekend 2013 trade, and a pick as high as a third-rounder as a compensatory choice for losing pricy free agents such as Dashon Goldson last spring.

• This just in: Calvin Johnson’s good. He had a nice month in three hours Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit’s 31-30 shocker of Dallas: 14 catches, 329 yards (seven away from the all-time single-game record), one touchdown. That also gives him the all-time two-game record of 484 receiving yards. Eight days, 484 yards. Eight games, 470 yards for Larry Fitzgerald.

In two back-to-back relief appearances, Matt Barkley has five turnovers and no touchdowns. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
In two back-to-back relief appearances, Matt Barkley has five turnovers and no touchdowns. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

• This just in: The Eagles aren’t. Remember the good ol’ days? Way back in the first half of the first game of the season, when the Chip Kelly offense was all the rage? The high-octane Eagles offense is averaging 67.7 plays per game. Andy Reid’s offense last year averaged 67.4. The problem in Philadelphia, which is lucky to be 3-5, is Kelly can’t hang his hat on anything in his offense.

• Be ready for anything with London. There’s nothing of permanence happening with London right now, and I’m told every option is on the table. That includes a team moving there, an expansion team, more than three games (the 2014 schedule) and perhaps even a slate of eight games, played by different teams every year. There’s some thought that because there is no “home” team in England, and selling a bad Jacksonville team (the Jags will play a game there in 2014, ’15 and ’16 at least) will be problematic right now, a good option is every team alternating. Of course, that won’t be a good option the minute you tell a Packers, Steelers, Broncos or Seahawks fan he or she has to lose a home game for the sake of expansionism. I sense frustration from some around the league that the NFL spends huge money to put on a great show in England one to three times a year, and the media there ignores it. But as one league operative told me recently: “If you guys [NBC, where I also work] can get 850,000 viewers for a Manchester United game on NBC Sports Network, why can’t we build a block of fans like that for football over there?”

• The Illegal Bat. I love the sound of that. It’s like a baseball slugger caught corking. It surfaced clear as day in Foxboro and still became controversial. You’ll read more about it in Ten Things below.

• Greg Jennings in the Revenge Game: One catch, nine yards, left the locker room before the media arrived following Green Bay’s 44-31 win at Minnesota last night. That’s 264 yards fewer than teammate Cordarrelle Patterson put on the board.

Greg Jennings took what were interpreted as varying shots at Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this offseason after signing with the Vikings. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Greg Jennings took what were interpreted as varying shots at Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this offseason after signing with the Vikings. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

• Manning 6,000. I wrote last year about the possibility of a quarterback, in the not-too-distant future, throwing for 6,000 yards in a season. Aaron Rodgers, I theorized, would have the best shot. I’m not saying Peyton Manning’s going to do it this year, but let’s acknowledge the greatness of the first-half MVP here. In Denver’s 7-1 start, Manning has averaged 365 passing yards per game. Other-worldly, obviously. But let’s say he adds one medium-range skinny post per game in the final eight games. Say, an extra gain of 20 per game. If Manning averages 385 yards per game in his final eight, he’ll hit 6,000. As it is, he’s on pace for 5,838 passing yards with 58 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Yards will get tougher in December, of course. Manning’s got two home games in five days in the last month, including a Thursday nighter against San Diego Dec. 12. But who’d have ever thought throwing for 6,000 would be remotely possible so soon after 5,000 started getting hit?

Now for the Detroit story. It’s a good one.   

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365 comments
samantha.reinsel35
samantha.reinsel35

Hey Queenie,

Eagles the biggest disappointment....in your face, you're missing too many of your so-called expert opinionated statements.

Maybe it's time to hang up your pen and paper!!!!

BronzeBomber
BronzeBomber

Offenses are pretty efficient nowadays Peter.  Shouldn't we nerf them as well?

AlDavis
AlDavis

Way off on the field goal and extra point take. Absolutely no reason to make it harder. The Rams miss from 50 last Monday night is a perfect example of a missed field goal costing a team a game. It still happens and even though an extra point is a gimme I still want to see them make it. Gives the team on the short end of the score a chance sometimes, slim, but a chance. Nothing needs to be done. The NFL has already made too many rule changes. Enough is enough.

sterculius65
sterculius65

Dear Peter,

Sorry to rain on your orgy of piling on the Eagles

in MMQB but so many of your claims are not backed

up by the facts (to put it nicely).

For instance...

"I think the Eagles have to be the disappointment

of the season."

Really? Really? Bigger dissapointment than the the

2-5 Falcons coming off a 13-3 season and a Super

Bowl pick by many? Bigger disapointment than the

Steelers? Bigger disapoinment than the

Redskins...?

Fact is most people had the Eagles at best going

8-8 and most not even that. To say they are the

biggest dissapointment is pure drivel. They are

record wise right where most people thought they

would be.

" A Chip Kelly team first and foremost has to have

consistency and efficiency at quarterback, and

Philadelphia hasn’t had that all season"

Again really? Look at the QB ratings by game....

1. Vick 112.6
2. Vick 123.4
3. Vick 49.4
4. vick 83.6
4. Foles 155.2 (garbage time)
5. Foles 114.9, vick 69
6. foles 133.3

Weeks 7 and 8 are disasters of course but weeks

1,2,4,5 and 6 all make your cliam the Eagles

haven't had consistency and efficiency at

quarterback all season clearly absurd.

"Why, oh why, Chip Kelly, when you’re one score

behind with four minutes to go, your defense

playing well and three timeouts left do you onside

kick?"

Agreed but thay had one timeout left, not three.

Again if you are going to criticize at least have

your facts straight.

"The problem in Philadelphia, which is lucky to be

3-5, is Kelly can’t hang his hat on anything in

his offense."

Lucky to be 3-5?

Lets see they have won by margins of 6,15 and 9

points. They have lost by margins of 3,10,32 and

8. I'd say they are pretty much where they should

be but if you want to bring luck in to it then if

they had any they would be closer to 4-4 than 2-6.

It makes me wonder just how much of the Eagles you

have watched this year...

HonoluluBlue
HonoluluBlue

Greatly overlooked stat from the Lions-Cowboys game.   Stafford set the NFL record for fewest games to reach 15,000 yards passing.  Better than.....everybody.  Name your QB.

Stafford haters repeat after me....Joe Montana would have been nothing without Jerry Rice....not tell me how silly you feel.


BeholdTheWolverine
BeholdTheWolverine

I see I'm not the only one getting annoyed at the petulance this column (sorry...business site) is showing.  Just this week alone the Diva-nature about this NOT being SI.com.  Well, that may be true, but I'm pretty sure that's where 99% of your readers read it, and how they associate it, and that they/we/I don't care about any legal distinction between the two.  If you want to be your own, then don't run it on SI.com and start spending the marketing dollars so people know (or care about) the difference.

Second, the Patriots didn't ignore Troy Brown's advice either.  Since the Patriots were never down 24-7 his advice was moot.

Seriously, don't you think the internet is snarky enough as it is without adding to it?  This column (or whatever) is not as enjoyable as it was before this reincarnation.  Harder to follow, harder to read, and all in all less fun and enjoyable.  I may be in the minority, but I don't view this as an improvement.

RayHuggyBearYoung
RayHuggyBearYoung

Thats MMQB.Si.com  Peter.  If you really want your site to be all MMQB  cut away from Si.com.  Its part of your web address and writers can give credit to Si.com on it.

cdawg
cdawg

I am a 9er fan and still think you ranked them too high. I think they should be 5th behind Denver and Seattle along with Indy and KC

2229JEFF
2229JEFF

I have been following your concussion stories with some interest.Not sure but it seems you are missing the obvious problem. Playing a contact sport with a fibreglass helmet and padding must be a factor when combined with such large, powerful athletes.We play a variety of contact sports here in Australia and no rigid padding or helmets are permitted in either of the Rugby codes or Australian Rules football at a professional or amateur level. While we have incidence of concussions they seem to be dealt with in the main well and we do not appear to be suffering the same issues as you are in American Football with respect to retired players.Would there be more or less concussions if the pads and helmets came off ?

Dustin3
Dustin3

meh.... a lot of QB's will have a "coming of age moment" when they play Dallas' defense. Dallas is the only NFL team to allow more than one 400 yard passer so far this season......and they've done it 4 TIMES.

jj55
jj55

Memo to Peter King (said with slight annoyance). The MMQB is a blatant to attempt to "brand" you as SI's answer to Bill Simmons and Grantland. Stop whining, keep writing, and let SI's publicity team position your website as America's gift to football. We readers will ultimately make that call, not you.

BobLang
BobLang

Kickers are making a lot more kicks… more domed stadiums have anything to do with that? Probably can blame it on global warming. 

Also, I don't think you meant to write from the 40-49 yard line. I think you just meant 40-49 yard field goals. From the 40-49 yard line would be 57-66 yard field goals. I have a hard time believing that kickers are making 80 percent of those. 

humdrumdrumhumming
humdrumdrumhumming

3. San Francisco (6-2). Five straight wins by an average of 22.6 points. This team’s getting scary. Think of the room to grow for this offense entering the bye: In the last two weeks, the Niners have scored 73 points in two road wins a total of 10 time zones from home … and gotten only 363 yards and one passing touchdown in the process.


the 49ers, third, really?????

how about some context...  since the Niners barely beat the Packers on opening day they've played two winning teams --- they got crushed by both, losing 29-3 at Seattle and losing 27-7 to the Colts in SF..

the Niners five straight win came against St. Louis (3-5) Houston (2-5), Arizona (4-4), Tennesse (3-4), Jacksonville (0-8)... 

are we supposed to be impressed  because the 49ers are blowing out the worst teams in football?  

they haven't beat a team who's over .500 since opening day..

djp9192
djp9192

watching the weekend highlights i think i've never seen worse open field tackling ... arm tackles easily bumped off, or even air swings ... they really need to bring in some tackling coaches from rugby!

beekay31
beekay31

Stafford has come of age?  Is that why he needed 14 receptions and 329 yards from a single WR, one that just happens to be one of the best WRs to ever play the game, to eke out the win?  Look way, way back to 3 weeks ago against GB to see how well Stafford performs without Calvin Johnson.

gaucant
gaucant

How does Jason Garret not call a time out to set his defense. It's a huge play in the game and the defense is spent. Seems like the Cowboys always mismanage the clock and lose winnable games.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

Tom Brady struggles with a bunch of no-name receivers and he gets headline after headline.  Aaron Rodgers does the same thing - and putting teams AWAY, no less - and he doesn't even get a mention this week.  Really?  44 points with Myles White and Jarrett Boykin and Andrew Quarless, and not a single mention?

I get that Peter is a Pats homer and all, but, in the immortal words of the guys on ESPN...

C'Mon, Man!

Mat X
Mat X

No style points in football?  C'mon Peter, you don't know how Division 1-A/F*BS* college football works, do you? :-D

Dale15
Dale15

I am amazed that you are giving so much credit to Stafford and less to the gross negligence of the officials.  On Dallas's last drive they call Tyron Smith (holding) which stopped the clock.  Good call, no problemw with that.  On Stafford's long completion to #18 the I saw stretch jersey HOLDING and.....................sigh, .no call.  Both were critical situations with differing standards of officiating.   Hmmmmm, if the same standard existed from play to play by the officials Stafford's play would be a mute point.  Why don't you point this out instead of glibly latching on to a headline story?!!!

decredico
decredico

pete king is the kid in high school that was always the last one choosen in pick up games ... hes a dolt .. he is nothing more than water carrier for the league spewing propaganda each week for middling minds to suck up ... anyone reading this and for real insight is just about as dumb as king

JPSmall
JPSmall

@sterculius65 I pretty much read this column because, despite all the bluster and unending support of certain players and teams, king gets almost unparalleled access to players and coaches. Add to that the new forum for players to actually write the article, and I'll stick around for a bit, but the new website (difficult to navigate) and pete's old tricks make it easier to miss every week. 

Why.
Why.

@BeholdTheWolverine IF you are in the minority than a lot of others here are too. I have posted this before about the article quality taking a nose dive. I think the mmqb (separate from si.com) has been a horrible idea. 

BrockDakiller
BrockDakiller

@2229JEFF I, as an American, like that idea. If yer nut is not in a shell, yer not as likely to try to crack it. Good thinking there, I think.

Nathan16
Nathan16

I was going to make that point too. Also, artificial turf is much better now than it was 15 years ago. How many kickers slipped on that crap in Texas Stadium when it was wet or cold?

Nathan16
Nathan16

Hush, Peter has a man crush on one-read Kapernick and doesn't want you pointing that out.

noly972
noly972

@djp9192 Or, the NFL could put the players through 'Heads-Up' Football training so that they could learn the proper tackling techniques they're supposedly teaching kids. But, I'm with you - the tackling is getting worse and worse. I blame the new contract with reduced practices overall and particularly practices with pads. 

 As far as your rugby coach idea, I believe that football could use some rugbyization. Aside from tackling coaches (a good idea), if we went back to leather helmets, head-first hits would become a thing of the past. In fact, concussions may become almost a non-issue since the players would be much more aware of protecting their heads. There's also the possibility that the concussions would be less severe. Violence in the game would be, by necessity, reduced. Instead of turning it into two-hand touch, rugbyize it a little.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@djp9192 The one thing that bothers me most in all of football - regardless of who is playing, regardless of which team they play for - is defenders not tackling properly.  It's the most basic thing that kids are taught how to do on defense, and yet it seems like nobody in the league can do it.

I think the media coverage and highlight reels spun by all the sports networks have given rise to players always wanting to be in those highlights instead of just doing their jobs.  And more often than not, arm tackles and the big hit lead to a missed tackle.

BobLang
BobLang

@beekay31 Guess you missed the pass on the last drive that set up the win. The one that maybe 5 or 6 QBs could make. Your boy Rodgers had a stinker against Cinci a few weeks ago and I bet you didn't berate him. Stafford is an elite QB. Deal with it. 

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore All right, genius, where exactly is the Brady "headline" in this column? He made two appearances under things King didn't like, a section Rogers would be happy to stay out of, and a mention in the section about the batting play. Hilarious how King gets accused of being a "homer," even when he essentially just focuses on Brady for two sentences, and they're both about how bad he was. Sorry there wasn't another sentence saying "Aaron Rogers has perfectly routine win against the godawful Vikings" so you could go to bed without crying yourself to sleep.

BobLang
BobLang

@Dale15 Those were the only two holding calls made differently all game? You know the saying about holding, right? You could call it on every play. 

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@decredico So, since you were reading the column, you are pointing out to everyone how dumb you are.  Makes me wonder where you were "choosen" in pick up games.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@decredico Why don't you just literally vomit on your keyboard next time? It'd be about as insightful.

BobLang
BobLang

Is Jordy Nelson a "no-name receiver"? I would argue that he is better than anything New England is running out there right now. Wait, I don't want to upset you. Rodgers is the best thing to happen to QBs since Montana retired. Shoot, he had Rice to throw to. Best thing since Bradshaw. No no, he won 4 Super Bowls, and had two hall of famers to throw to. I give up. Rodgers is the best. Ever.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore King has historically ignored everything the Packers do.  Last week, King sang nothing but praises for Brady and his win with no-names, even going so far as to turn a question in his mailbag last week about the Vikings into a diatribe about how great Brady is with a bunch of no-names.

So I'm just curious as to why Rodgers doesn't get the same treatment.  Hell, all he could say was that Rodgers won against a bad Vikings team, which diminishes that Rodgers led the Packers to 37 offensive points (7 came on the punt return) with no-name receivers, even though last week Brady barely won with no-names but got almost a full page.

And learn how to read, you moron.  I never stated the headline was in today's column, only that he continues to ignore what Rodgers does even though he does it with the same pieces Brady has, only doing it better.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore  I'd probably ask that you actually reply to the right thread. And ill-timed? Are you currently verbally abusing your sainted mater? Did I interrupt? Or have you apparently just never heard the very common phrase "You talk to your mother with that mouth?" and were unable to see that paraphrase? It's cool, though. I totally understand the urge to call someone a a moron and an ass-hat on the Internet, then feign being insulted. Have a graham cracker or something. It'll cool you down.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

When the object of your ill-timed and accusatory violence (punch my mother?) is no longer around, I find the insult to be directed at her. And in very poor taste. I'll ask that you just go away now.

BobLang
BobLang

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore @BobLang Finley's injury might be helping the Packers. He can't drop any balls from the sidelines. And I'm not a Pats homer. Can't stand them. 

Cobb is a no name? Jones is a no name? Nelson is a no name? Finley is a no name? He was throwing to all stars until 2 weeks ago. Great work against a horrible Vikings team. but hardly headline worthy. 

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @BobLang Jesus Christ, stop homering for the Patriots. Gronk's injury gets post after post, but not a word about how injured  Jermichael Finley is.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@BobLang And Gronk isn't a no-name either.  Granted, Gronk has been out since recently.  But still, Rodgers has been getting the job done with a bunch of no-names - just like Brady.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget It's funny, for a dude who expended a ton of energy talking about how I can't read, you apparently weren't able to pick up on the fact that I was actually insulting you. Your mother's a classy lady. An angel among women, and every day I weep for her secret shame that she has a son with a potty mouth on the Internet and a weird mad-on for Peter King.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore Really?  That's the best you can come up with?  Insulting my mother?  How original.  How mature.  I'm so angry.  Oh, the humanity - you resorted to the ultimate retard comeback; Hulk smash!

Serioiusly - my mother?  Can't discuss football intelligently, so you decide to insult someone's mom?  Dude, you need help.  Real class move there.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget This is pretty a pretty solid dialogue, and I'm learning a ton about proper conversation here! Last question, do you punch your mother with that mouth? Should I?

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore Well, let's see.  You've:

1.  Put words in my mouth that I never uttered;

2. Obviously haven't read the column longer than a week, otherwise you'd know Peter is a Pats homer;

3.  Are attempting to inflame an issue that has nothing to do with you.

In my book, yes, this makes you an ass-hat and a moron.  You can't read, you want something to be there that isn't, and you make shit up to try and make yourself look better.

And now, the troll food gets put away.  I should know better than to feed you idiots.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget Wait, it doesn't work by me pointing out that you're weirdly obsessed with this idea that PK loves the Patriots and using as an example a column where he bashes Brady and just happens to not mention Rogers, then you calling me an ass-hat and a moron? 

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget And yet you can't seem to comprehend that "equal treatment" would be verbally pummeling Rogers for making no-chance throws to a TE. But don't be mad, baby! I like being the pain in your ass better than being in anyone else's!

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore Just asking for equal treatment.  But you are apparently too stupid to comprehend that, so I'll put the troll food away and let you wander off to be a pain in someone else's ass.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget So ... you're complaining that in this column, Aaron Rogers in not mentioned, because Tom Brady is mentioned in the headlines of other stories. That makes perfect, perfect sense. On a related note, I'm pretty angry that Peter King doesn't mention The Good Wife in this column, while that crappy Sleepy Hollow show is getting headline after headline in Entertainment Weekly.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@SpartanTarget @CoreyLivermore If you can read so well, then tell me where in the sentence "Tom Brady struggles with a bunch of no-name receivers and he gets headline after headline." do I mention that the headline was in today's column.  Well, I'm waiting...

Done waiting.  Why?  Because I never stated the headline was in today's column.  Nor did I infer or imply it.  You want to see something that isn't there so you can try to make yourself look better.

If you're going to accuse someone of something, make sure you have proof to back it up, ass-hat.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@CoreyLivermore @SpartanTarget Oh, man, where could I have gotten that "headline" thing from? You're right. My reading's not so good. My copy-pasting is much better, though. Maybe I got it from this: "Tom Brady struggles with a bunch of no-name receivers and he gets headline after headline." And I love the line "King has historically ignored everything the Packers do," like you're picking through Chaucer texts here. Sorry you're really, really upset that this lacked a platitude section about Rogers. Maybe next week he'll be terrible for an entire half of a game and King can grouse about him, too! 

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