Matthew Stafford was seen wearing a bulky wrap around his right elbow on Monday after getting blasted on Sunday in San Diego. The Detroit Lions starting quarterback assured reporters there isn’t cause for concern heading into Week 2 when the Lions travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings.
“I’ll be good to go,” Stafford told the Free Press.
Stafford wore a sleeve around the inflamed area on Sunday against the Chargers after Melvin Ingram hit his elbow on the team’s opening drive of the second half. Perhaps it isn’t coincidence the Lions went impotent on offense after halftime, or that star receiver Calvin Johson was invisible, catching just one pass for 11 yards after the break.
For that matter, Golden Tate was also an invisible man, as was pretty much any other Lions receiver. And it’s not like San Diego’s defense is this juggernaut that will shut down opposing offenses in 2015.
To be fair, Stafford did manage to bounce back in a minor way at the end of the game, leading a scoring drive that ended with a 21-yard touchdown to running back Theo Riddick. After the game, head coach Jim Caldwell spoke about Stafford’s gritty play in spite of his painful injury.
“But he’s a tough guy and he was able to bounce back and come back strong enough to lead us down the field and score and put us in position if we get an onside kick to maybe go and tie the thing up. So he bounced back. Tough guy.”
Regardless of Caldwell’s praise, there is no denying Detroit’s passing attack went limp after Stafford’s injury. Making matters worse for the offense, veteran running back Joique Bell didn’t look explosive at all in his return from knee and Achilles injuries.
Fantasy owners should take note: Rookie Ameer Abdullah could take on a more prominent role if Bell’s struggles continue. The veteran rushed for just 2.3 yards per carry, receiving just six opportunities to run the ball, while Abdullah was explosive, going for 50 yards on just seven carries.
While Stafford is assuring reporters that everything is fine, perhaps there is really cause for concern, at least in the short term. Nobody will deny he’s a “tough guy,” but toughness can only get you so far.
If his elbow continues to be problem this weekend on the road against a ticked-off Vikings squad that was embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers on national television, then the Lions will almost certainly get off to an 0-2 start to the 2015 season.