Blitzing Matthew Stafford has been a terrible idea this season

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One of the many traits that separate a good quarterback from a great one is being able to complete passes and pick up yards while under pressure. Defenses try to put quarterbacks in tough situations by blitzing them, sending extra rushers in an attempt to generate pressure and create negative plays.

Jared Goff struggled when pressured last season, failing to recognize blitzers and evade rushers. That’s one of Matthew Stafford’s strengths, excelling against the blitz and displaying the innate ability to deliver the ball to his receivers when under duress.

Blitzing Stafford this season has been an exercise in futility, almost never working out for the opposing defense. According to Next Gen Stats, Stafford is 48 for 63 with 698 yards and eight touchdowns against the blitz in 2021. He has a 151.3 passer rating, which ranks second in the NFL, and a pass EPA (expected points added) of +47.1 – by far the best mark in the NFL.

Against the Lions on Sunday, he was a near-perfect 10-for-11 for 142 yards and three touchdown passes against the blitz.

According to Pro Football Focus, Stafford has a 95.2 passer rating when under pressure this season, which ranks sixth in the NFL. When kept clean, his passer rating is an impressive 122.6, so he’s performed well in both circumstances. He’s only completing 48.1% of his passes when pressured, but he’s still averaging 8.5 yards per attempt, second among all quarterbacks.

So if you’re going to blitz Stafford, the rush better get home because otherwise, he’s going to find open receivers and pick up big yardage like he has all season.

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