Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing some of the best football of his career so far as he moves up the all-time passing list. Stafford most recently passed Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana.
It's a big accomplishment, but for Stafford, his main focus is on what he can do to help the Lions win more games.
“I think there is no truer look at who he is,” head coach Matt Patricia said of Stafford after last week's win over the Giants. “He’s just a competitive, competitive guy. He always wants to be the best, and he’s great. He works really hard. He’s competitive. He’s tough. He’s grinding it out every single day.
“You just have to love the guy. You have to love how hard he works, how he battles, and you have to love out tough he is.”
Stafford has been getting the ball down the field and spreading it around. His 33 completions of 20-plus yards are the fourth most in the NFL.
Four of those competitions belong to newcomer Marvin Hall. The third-year wide receiver has five catches for 201 yards since joining the Lions in late September.
“It’s surreal, you know?” Hall said. “To take the path I took and then just to be able to make the impact I’ve made here is a blessing. I just hope we can keep it going.”
While the Lions' passing attack is thriving, their run game could use some work.
Sunday's matchup will be the second game since starting running back Kerryon Johnson went on IR with a knee injury. Last week in his absence, the Lions rushed for just 59 yards in their win over the Giants.
It will be up to some combination of Ty Johnson, J.D. McKissic and Tra Carson to get things going for the Lions on the ground this week.
“We’ll continue to hone in there, but we like the guys that are in the room, we like the team, we like the skill sets that we have,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We just have to kind of refine what’s going to be best for their roles.”
RAIDERS RETURN HOME
This week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders, are returning home after a five-game stretch on the road. Sunday's matchup against the Lions will be the Raiders' first time playing in their home stadium since Week 2.
“The league did what they did with the schedule, and for the most part we did really well sticking it out and hanging in there,” Raiders safety Lamarcus Joyner told raiders.com.
“Nobody expected for us to be 3-4 right now, I mean, I’m pretty sure everybody laughed at us, and thought we would win zero games, but we’re going to keep going. Ain’t no love lost. We still believe, we still (have) hope. We’re going to be good.”
The Raiders present a lot of challenges for the Lions, including another talented running back in the rookie Josh Jacobs. Jacobs has rushed for 620 yards and a 5.0-yard average per carry in the first seven games.
“He’s a tough, strong, explosive runner,” Patricia said. “It’s another really good run game. Every week we see this stuff. A little different of a run game maybe than what we saw last week from a scheme standpoint, but as far as production, very productive
“He’s going to bring it to the tackler. He’s not going to wait to be tackled.”
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Raiders, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Raiders injury report with game designations for Sunday's contest.
- Rookie defensive end Austin Bryant returned to practice this week for the first time since being placed on Reserve/Injured before the start of the season.
- In the latest edition of Under the Helmet, left tackle Taylor Decker talks about his appreciation for the supportive people in his life.
- View photos from the third annual Detroit Lions Cooking Competition.
- Catch up on all the news from Darrell Bevell and Paul Pasqualoni's Tuesday media sessions.