TWENTYMAN: Dropped passes aren't doing a more accurate Matthew Stafford any favors

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been very accurate early this season completing 65.8 percent of his passes, and that number could be even better

Matthew Stafford did what any team leader and captain would do when asked about the drops that have plagued the Lions offense the last two weeks.

He took some of the blame.

"I think it’s on everybody," he said Tuesday. "It’s on me too. I have to give them more catchable passes. I take credit for some of those. And then guys need to make a few more plays, but at the same time, I’m having guys make great catches for me too.

"You take the good with the bad, but that’s something we’re constantly trying to be the best we possibly can…catch everything thrown at you and for me as a quarterback, try to put everything on the money if you can."

Stafford has done more of the latter through two games.

He’s completing 65.8 percent of his passes and that number could be even better. The Lions have dropped 10.4 percent of Stafford’s passes this season (8), according to ESPN Stats and Information, which is worst in the league.

"He's in a good zone right now," receiver Nate Burleson said. "When he makes his mind up to put the ball where he wants it, it gets there with high accuracy, which is what you want from a franchise quarterback.

"He's putting the ball in our chest plate and our hands. What we have to do as receivers is continue to catch the balls he's throwing to us and the tough ones too. We can't allow the balls to hit the ground."

Stafford is one of only six quarterbacks whose passer rating is above 100 (102.0) through the first two weeks of the season.

"He’s going to the right places and he’s extremely accurate," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of his fifth-year quarterback. "I’m just really happy with how he’s playing. He’s staying within what we’re trying to get done, and if he keeps playing like that, it’s going to pay off for us."

Maybe the most important stat through two games for Stafford is one -- as in one interception. That came Week 1 on a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage.

That was a big focus for both Stafford and the offense heading into the season. Limit the turnovers and don’t hurt themselves.

"I don’t know, I’m just trying to play smart," Stafford said. " I’ve obviously had another year of experience. I definitely know that the first two teams we played can get the football on defense. And this team we’re playing this week is no different. It’s something I’m always conscious of."

Stafford threw 16 interceptions in 2011 and 17 last year and reducing those numbers considerable was a point of emphasis this season.

"We’re going to win a lot of football games when we keep the turnovers down," Linehan said. "We have a high volume passing offense. There’s going to be a few. But if we can keep it to a minimum, we’re always going to be in the game and probably should win the tight games if we’re winning the turnover battle."