Former Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford shined in the Detroit Lions’ 31-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The 8-year pro tossed for 270 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions on 23-of-31 passing. The performance lifted his season passer rating to 106.0, second highest in the NFL among quarterbacks throwing 100 completions or more (Matt Ryan, 117.9).
Two of Stafford’s passing touchdowns in the win, including a bomb that set one up, are required viewing. The first came in the second quarter when he slung a laser off his back foot to wide receiver Andre Roberts under duress. The score tied the game 14-14 headed into the half.
— NFL France (@FirstDownFR) October 16, 2016
On the Lions’ first possession of the third quarter, Stafford strung together two highlight-reel passes for the go-ahead score. On a third-and-12 from the Detroit 38-yard line, he hooked up with wideout Golden Tate for a 61-yard bomb. Tate stumbled into the end zone, but was ruled down by contact at the 1-yard line following official review.
Matthew Stafford is going DEEP.
— NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2016
After an unsuccessful rushing attempt on the next snap, Stafford threaded the needle on a second-and-goal form the 4-yard line with a dart to veteran receiver Anquan Boldin for the score.
Rams defensive captain and former Bulldogs great Alec Ogletree also featured in the contest, recording 5 solo tackles and 4 assisted. Running back Todd Gurley’s season slump continued, however.
Prior to the contest, NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt uncovered that Gurley is only the fifth running back since 1960 to have 100-plus carries and average under 3.0 yards per carry in his team’s first five games. Gurley’s last 100-yard effort was against the Lions 10 games ago (including postseason), so expectations were high he could improve on his poor efficiency. On Gurley’s first carry of Sunday’s meeting, he picked up 15 hard-fought yards. It ended up being his longest run of the day. Last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year finished with 58 yards on 14 rushes. He also accrued 39 receiving yards on 4 receptions.
The Dolphins’ Reshad Jones showed once again that he is one of the league’s best safeties in Miami’s 30-15 upset win over the Steelers. Jones tied for the team-high with 5 tackles, and recorded the unit’s first interception since opening weekend on a play in which Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tore his left MCL. Rolling out to his right, Roethlisberger felt a pop in his knee before under-throwing wide receiver Sammie Coates. Jones capitalized on the poor effort with an athletic diving pick.
I hope everyone appreciates how great Reshad Jones is. pic.twitter.com/du9lhXmor4
— Eric (@EricElizondo8) October 17, 2016
The interception was Jones’ 16th in his career.
Steelers linebacker Jarvis “Dawg Bones” Jones did not have a productive day. Although he picked up 3 tackles in defeat, the Dolphins ran at him all day long, and for big gains. Jones struggled to hold the point of attack — but to be fair, the Miami O-line dominated Pittsburgh’s front seven the entire game. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries. A 62-yard score in the final minute in which Ajayi dusted Jones capped off his career day. The Steelers hadn’t allowed a 200-yard rusher since 2000 (the Jaguars’ Fred Taylor, 234).
In other action, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green finished with 88 yards on 6 catches in Cincinnati’s 35-17 loss at the Patriots. Green put up productive numbers in the first half, but New England’s defensive adjustments limited him to 32 yards on 2 catches in the second. The 5-time Pro Bowler entered the contest ranking second in the NFL in both receptions (36) and yards (518). Bengals safety Shawn Williams was in on 9 tackles in defeat.
Veteran Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis recorded 4 solo tackles and 4 assisted in Carolina’s 41-38 loss to the Saints. Defensive lineman Charles Johnson posted 3 stops, and a half sack as well.
The Chiefs’ Chris Conley picked up 26 receiving yards on 3 catches in Kansas City’s 26-10 victory at Oakland.