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STATS PACK: Stafford's late-game magic

It's getting to a point now where any time left on the clock is enough time for Matthew Stafford when he's facing a deficit.

The Lions' signal caller guided Detroit back from a 16-13 hole with just 23 seconds left in the game and no timeouts last week in Minnesota to set up the game-tying field goal and the eventual win in overtime.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stafford has become the first quarterback since the 1970 merger to lead his team to five game-winning drives in each of his team's first five wins of the season.

Stafford's game-winning drive in overtime, which he finished with a 28-yard touchdown to Golden Tate, is the 25th of his career when the team trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter or in overtime.

What is it about Stafford that allows him to put the team on his shoulders and bring them back time and time again?

"He has great confidence that he doesn't back down and doesn't shrink away from those moments and the guys that are around him can sense that and I think it gives them a little bit more confidence," head coach Jim Caldwell said.

"He's not afraid to lose, and I think that in itself gives us a bit of an advantage."

Since Caldwell became head coach in 2014, Stafford leads the NFL with 13 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.

On the season, Stafford is completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,373 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions.

He's one of only five quarterbacks with a passer rating above 100.0 (101.6) on the year. The other four are Tom Brady (133.9), Matt Ryan (119.0), Drew Brees (106.7) and Dak Prescott (104.2).

Here's a look at some other key stats – good and bad – after nine weeks of football:

  • Detroit's defensive line is getting it done this year compared to the other lines around the league. They rank third in sacks with 18.0 (only Minnesota and Seattle have more). Detroit's D-line is second in tackles for loss (26), fourth in pass deflections (6) and seventh in QB hits (38).
  • On 37 pass plays at Minnesota, the Lions offensive line yielded just one sack, which occurred on the team's overtime game-winning drive. The O-line has now yielded one or fewer sacks in three of the past four games.
  • The Lions are the only team in NFL history to have their first nine games decided by a point margin of seven or less, via Elias Sports Bureau. It's no surprise then the Lions' 3.40 average margin of victory this year is well below the league average of 9.85.
  • TE Eric Ebron set a career single-game high with 92 receiving yards and tied a career single-game high with seven receptions in the Lions' 22-16 win at Minnesota. He now has five-plus receptions in four of his six games played this season.
  • K Matt Prater's 58-yard field goal last week with two seconds left to play in regulation was the second-longest field goal in team history, and the longest game-winning or game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime.
  • The Lions have the most rushes (30) for negative yards this season.
  • WR Anquan Boldin had a touchdown reception against Minnesota, his fifth touchdown catch this season. Boldin has now had a season with at least five touchdown receptions with four different teams (Arizona, Baltimore, San Francisco and Detroit), and is the fourth player in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Boldin joins Terrell Owens (five teams), Irving Fryar and Brandon Marshall as the only players in league history to accomplish the feat.
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