LIONS INSIDER

Stafford talks touchdowns, Megatron and hitting a stride

Posted Dec 11, 2012

In an interview with Sirius NFL Radio Tuesday, quarterback Matthew Stafford discussed, among other things, the offense's slow start to the season when it came to scoring touchdowns.

It may not be reflected in the win/loss column, but Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford thinks the offense is starting to hit its stride.

Obviously, it's a little later than both he or the Lions (4-9) had hoped, but it could be a good sign for the next three weeks and heading into a very important offseason for the Lions.

"I think early on in the season we saw a lot of different coverages, frankly, than we're seeing now and it was (opponents') goal to just hold (us) to three points," Stafford said in a Sirius NFL Radio interview Tuesday.

"If that meant giving up 500 yards and still holding us to three (points) instead of (a touchdown), then that was good enough for them."

Stafford admitted his frustration with having to settle for too many field goals early in the season. It also helps explain why the Lions rank No. 2 in total offense (413.8 yards per game) this season but 12th in total points (24.6).

"Last couple weeks we've been hot in the red zone and 100-percent scoring and doing things like that," Stafford said. "So we just need to continue doing that. But early on in the season, it was definitely tough and we were struggling a little bit, but I feel like we've hit our stride."

Stafford was also asked about how tough it's been to continually try to find different ways to get receiver Calvin Johnson the football, especially with all the injuries at the other receiver positions.

"It's tough. I give a lot of credit to Coach (Scott) Linehan (who) does a great of moving Calvin around and finding ways to try and get him a favorable matchups," he said.

"Find places on the field where it's tough to double him. Calvin, obviously, has to be talented enough to run routes from all over the field, which he is. That's what makes him so special but, at the same time, it's difficult. You watch film and you think about, ‘Well, they're not going to play us this way because we've got Calvin,' and you have to think outside the box a little bit sometimes to make sure you're giving yourself the best chance to get him open and give our team a chance to win."

Stafford and the Lions have done a pretty good job finding Johnson all season long. Johnson is on pace to break the single-season receiving record of 1,848 yards set by Jerry Rice in 1995.

Johnson has 1,546 yards with three games remaining.

"We've found ways to get it going and get it done," Stafford said. "Calvin, obviously, is having a heck of a year and I'm just happy to be a part of it.

"Obviously our two, three and four receivers to start the season are all down for one reason or another and we've had other guys step up. I thought our tight ends have done a good job. Sunday night we had Kris Durham, a guy from our practice squad, step up and play 78 snaps."