clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matthew Stafford has fallen out of this media outlet’s top 10 passer rankings

A tepid outing against Arizona Cardinals has Stafford looking from outside in at PFF’s top 10 passer rankings

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

After a blazing hot start to the 2023 season, Matthew Stafford has come back down to earth of late. The Los Angeles Rams’ signal caller has been a regular presence amongst Pro Football Focus’ (PFF) top 10 graded quarterbacks this year, but after a tepid performance in Week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals Stafford has fallen to 12th in their passing grades.

We know Stafford led the NFL in PFF’s “big-time throw” metric through the first matchup against the Cardinals, but he’s since struggled to throw his receivers open and create outside the structure of the offense. After a single big-time throw (BTT) in the second contest against Arizona, the veteran QB now has only three BTT’s in the last four games. Stafford tossed 19 BTT’s over the team’s first six games, for comparison. He has two turnover-worthy plays over the same stretch, though PFF did not credit Stafford for throwing a pick-six to DaRon Bland versus the Dallas Cowboys and an interception this past weekend in Arizona.

The Rams are a team that spent this past offseason casting off star players like Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, Bobby Wagner, and others and instead was supposed to lean even more heavily upon its “weight bearing walls” (as coined by general manager Les Snead). One of these core pillars is supposed to be Stafford, whose performance has cooled significantly over the last month. Cooper Kupp is supposed to be another key piece for the franchise, though he’s been in and out of the lineup with injuries and has not always been effective when he’s been on the field. Aaron Donald has lived up to his star status so far this year, though he maybe no longer performing at the peak of his powers.

But even Stafford in his current state is much more effective than the alternative, which the Rams learned the hard way when Stafford was out of the lineup against the Green Bay Packers and LA was forced to turn to former backup Brett Rypien. Even though Carson Wentz is more talented than Rypien in virtually every way, he’s still learning the ropes of the offense and is not realistically better than Stafford at this point.

The Rams find themselves on the cusp of a .500 record and on the edge of the NFC playoff picture if they can pull off a win against the Cleveland Browns this weekend. They’ll need Stafford to perform like the top 10 quarterback that he was earlier this year in order to stave off an aggressive defense that features the likes of Myles Garrett.

Can Matthew Stafford buck the trend and work his way back into PFF’s top 10 passing grades on the season, or is this the beginning of his decline at nearly age 36?