NOTEBOOK: Stafford leaves game early, but clears concussion protocol

This was certainly a trying week for Matthew Stafford, and it didn't end on a good note for the veteran quarterback. Stafford was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list earlier this week after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.

Stafford couldn't take part in practice. He took part in all meetings virtually, and had to self-isolate in a hotel away from his family all week. After being removed from the list on Saturday, Stafford flew separately from the team to Minnesota, and said he'll still have to self-isolate away from his family when he arrives back in Detroit Sunday night.

A win would have certainly made all that a little more worth it for Stafford, but that wasn't in the cards, as the Lions fell to the Vikings 34-20.

Stafford played pretty well given the circumstances, completing 16-straight passes at one point, but he also threw two critical interceptions in Vikings' territory and left the game early in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He never returned to the game.

Stafford said after the game that he cleared concussion protocol and feels fine. He also said he completely understands the protocols the league has in place to play football during a worldwide pandemic. He said he would feel terrible if he were to bring the virus into the building.

"I just hate being away from my family," Stafford said after the game. "Finish a practice, finish a game, go hug my daughters, hug my wife, that's what sometimes makes it worth it for me and not being able to see them and hang with them has been tough. But there's other people dealing with the same kind of stuff I am."

For the game, Stafford finished 23-of-32 passing for 211 yards with a touchdown to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. and those two interceptions to end with a 73.8 passer rating.

It was a tough week for Stafford overall, but hopefully he and his family will see some sense of normalcy soon.

WHERE'S THE RUSH?

New Lions defensive end Everson Griffen was excited to face his former team this week. He didn't play too bad, finishing with three tackles and a pass defended. He did not record any sacks though.

In fact, the Lions only had one sack the entire game, a corner blitz from Desmond Trufant that got home. Detroit's pass rush, which was playing without defensive end Trey Flowers who was placed on IR this week, hit Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins just twice all game.

Part of Detroit's lack of a consistent pass rush was due to Minnesota's ability to run the ball (275 rushing yards). That kept Detroit's defenders upfront off balance, but the lack of pass rush has still been an issue most of the season for Detroit.

View photos from Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Week 9 game in Minneapolis, MN, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.

INJURY REPORT

Stafford wasn't the only player the Lions had to manage from an injury perspective.

The team lost cornerback and key special teams contributor Tony McRae in the first half due to a knee injury. He had to be carted off the field, which is never a good sign.

Offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai left the game due to a foot injury and rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah left with an ankle injury.

EXTRA POINTS

  • Tight end T.J. Hockenson recorded his fifth touchdown reception of the season to lead the Lions in TDs.
  • Rookie running back D'Andre Swift rushed 13 times for 64 yards (4.9 avg.) and caught three passes for 33 yards (11.0 avg.) to total 97 scrimmage yards on the day. He became the fourth Lions player to total at least 250 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards through their first eight career games, joining Jahvid Best (2010), James Jones (1983) and Billy Sims (1980).

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