Matthew Stafford was brilliant against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. The 33-year-old quarterback looked incredible as he guided his 9-4 Los Angeles Rams to a 30-23 win over the 10-3 Cardinals. When Stafford plays like he did Monday night, the Rams look as good as any team in the NFL.
Stafford finished the game completing 23 of 30 passes for 287 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was essentially flawless, as he fed Cooper Kupp all night, hitting him 13 times for 123 yards and a score. He also worked in Odell Beckham Jr., hitting the recently-acquired wideout six times for 77 yards and a touchdown. He saved his biggest moment for youngster Van Jefferson, hitting the speedster in stride for a gorgeous 52-yard touchdown with one of the best throws of the 2021 season.
If that's not enough, check out this across-the-field throw Stafford unleashed to Kupp:
Only a handful of quarterbacks in NFL history could make those throws and Stafford has always been one of them.
The veteran's numbers on the season look really good overall. He has completed 67.3 percent of his passes, is third in the league in passing yards (3,898), fourth in yards per attempt (8.3), second in touchdowns (33) and only has nine interceptions. He's also second in quarterback rating (108.4) and third in QBR (67.4). By any measure, that's a phenomenal season, but there is a significant downside hidden in those numbers.
When Stafford has been great, LA has been damn near unstoppable. When he's been bad, the team has been terrible. The Rams have lost all three games in which Stafford's passer rating has been below 90, and they've lost every game in which his QBR has been below 60. As Stafford goes, so goes his team.
After 13 games it has become clear that the Rams need Stafford to be elite if they want to win a Super Bowl. LA has a talented team but this won't be a Trent Dilfer/Jeff Hostetler situation. Stafford has to bring it each and every week if the Rams are going to contend for a title. On Monday night against an excellent Cardinals team, he did just that.
LA loves its stars. Matthew Stafford needs to be one if the Rams hope to reach the Super Bowl their stadium will be hosting on February 13.