Sunday afternoon, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford made NFL history when he threw a pass to a wide-open Danny Amendola. With this completion, the former number one overall pick from 2009 reached 40,000 yards in his career. He reached this milestone in only 147 games, making him the fastest in NFL history to do so.
By reaching this mark in only 147 games, Stafford knocked Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (151 games) out of the top spot. He also topped Drew Brees (152), Dan Marino (153), and Peyton Manning (154). The former Miami Dolphins QB in Marino is in the Hall of Fame, while both Brees and Manning will be inevitably enshrined.
With a career record of 68-77-1, Stafford has received criticism for his lack of playoff wins and division titles. However, the Lions have struggled to stop opposing quarterbacks throughout Stafford's career.
Since joining the Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft, Stafford has been viewed as a gunslinger that can make big plays when needed. An example of this is a 2016 season in which he set the record for the most fourth-quarter comebacks in a single campaign (8).
Even without the retired top receiver in Calvin Johnson, Stafford still made plays to keep his team in every game en route to a playoff appearance. He found Golden Tate for more than 1,000 yards, helped Marvin Jones nearly reach the same mark, and found the veteran Anquan Boldin for a team-leading eight scores.
That being said, injuries did derail early portions of his career. For the first two seasons, Stafford was viewed as a brittle player after only playing in 10 games as a rookie and three games in his second year. Although one of Stafford's games during his rookie season showed that he could simultaneously fight through an injury while making NFL history.
During a 2009 battle with the Cleveland Browns, Stafford was hit and suffered a separated shoulder on what appeared to be the final play of the game. However, there was pass interference on the Browns, which gave the Lions one untimed down. Despite dealing with considerable pain, Stafford ran back out to the field and threw the game-winning touchdown, which was his fifth of the day. He also became the youngest player in NFL history to throw five touchdowns in a single game.0comments
Since those two injury-plagued seasons, Stafford has since started all 16 games every year since and has made the Lions far more competitive. He holds the record for reaching 40,000 yards in only 147 games and now has an opportunity to continue setting career marks.
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