The Los Angeles Rams will not have Matthew Stafford in Week 12’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but his symptoms are improving and the quarterback could return next week against the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams do not plan to shut down Stafford this season, despite L.A.’s 3-7 record, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Stafford, who has thrown 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions over his nine starts in 2022, missed the Arizona Cardinals game two weeks ago. John Wolford started in his place but the offense once again struggled and L.A. lost to Colt McCoy’s Cardinals. Stafford returned to start against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11, but was again pulled with a head injury, this time replaced by Bryce Perkins.
Perkins went 5-of-10 in Stafford’s place, also rushing for 39 yards, but getting sacked three times. Rapoport adds that Stafford was not actually diagnosed with a concussion in Week 11, but that leg numbness could be the result of a neck stinger.
Despite the Rams’ 3-7 record and despite Stafford landing in the NFL’s concussion protocol for the second time this season, there are no current plans to shut down Stafford for the remainder of the season, multiple sources say.
While Stafford is in the league’s protocol, he has not been diagnosed with a concussion, sources with knowledge of his situation say. In fact, he was placed in the protocol because he exited game before the team could determine if he had a concussion.
The Rams couldn’t rule out a concussion during the game because it could have been his head, neck or back that was causing the symptoms. So, they played it safe by pulling him and putting him in concussion protocol.
Stafford was experiencing leg numbness as a result of what was essentially a bad stinger when his neck was hit last week. But that has since cleared up over the past few days, sources say.
Stafford is considered week-to-week. As it was explained, the Rams placed Stafford in the concussion protocol for the second time in three weeks out of caution because he had symptoms that can sometimes come with that diagnosis.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has a slightly conflicting report on Sunday, writing that the Rams are “uncertain” if Stafford will return this season.
Sunday’s game could be the first of multiple starts this season for Perkins, depending on how he plays, how the team fares and how Stafford recovers. McVay said Wednesday that he would not rule out shutting down Stafford for the rest of the season, saying the Rams “are not going to do anything that’s reckless.”
If the Rams upset the Chiefs in Week 12, there’s even more reason to hope for Stafford’s return in Week 13. A win over the Seattle Seahawks could help the Rams get to 5-7 with five games left to go and a short week before hosting the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night in Week 14.
But a loss to the Chiefs, a loss to Seattle could drop L.A. to 3-9 with five games. And that’s a much different outlook. Stafford’s true outlook for the rest of the season depends heavily on what happens in the next two weeks.
But his current health doesn’t seem to be the determining factor anymore. Only the danger of putting him behind the Rams offensive line.