Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford entered the NFL in 2009. And he never won a playoff game. That lack of playoff success looms over the Rams heading into a wildcard game at SoFi Stadium.
Does Stafford need to prove he can win a playoff game?
“No,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Thursday. “He has an established resume. It’s something you want to be able to do, but he was instrumental in getting us to our Premier League title which we’ve had since 2018. It’s a big deal, but now it’s the next step. His work speaks for itself, and I don’t think you can just say, “Oh, he didn’t win a playoff game.”
But he still hasn’t. Does Stafford feel compelled to do so?
“Every time I step on the court, I prove myself,” Stafford told reporters, “whether it’s a preseason game, a regular season game, a practice, a playoff game. I want to be there. go and play well. It’s just another opportunity to do it. It’s a team game. There’s no question. But at the same time, do I know that when the quarterback play a good game, do you have a better chance of winning the game? Absolutely. So I always try to go out there and play as good a football as possible to help our team win. . . . If you enter on the football field and you don’t feel the pressure to go out there and play, then something is wrong with you in my opinion It’s a positive pressure that I put on myself to go out there and help our team to win.
In LA, Stafford has more help when it comes to helping his team win.
“We have all the pieces,” linebacker Von Miller told reporters Thursday, “in terms of coaching, players and staff, all over the facility. I think it’s for all of us. I don’t think it’s just for Matthew Stafford. I think it’s for all of us. [G.M. Les Snead has] put together a Super Bowl team and we just want to go out there and play and do it. We have a great team, we have a great opportunity. As I said before, I just [have] pray to God to prepare us for our opportunity whenever it comes.
Still, Stafford has thrown eight interceptions in his last four games. He must avoid this in the knockout round.
“The standards he has for himself and one of the things I love the most about this guy is the first thing he’s going to do is take ownership and be accountable on the things he can do better,” McVay said. “There is a professional risk on certain bearings. As a competitor, they certainly don’t all fall on him, but the answer is yes. I am very happy with him and [I’m] looking forward to playing clean ball in the playoffs, trusting his teammates, playing the way he is capable of. And if he just plays within himself, I hope very good things happen for this team.
It starts with the arrival of the Cardinals in town on Monday evening. Win and advance. Lose and find themselves one level lower than the Rams last year with Jared Goff at quarterback.