With 1:16 left to go in the second quarter, the Lions were forced to turn to their 3rd string QB Drew Stanton to end their dubious 23 game losing streak on the road. Backup QB Shaun Hill injured his left forearm on the previous play. Unfortunately, Stanton could not rally the Lions to a victory despite throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown as the Lions lost to the NY Giants 28-20. Stanton threw only one interception, but it was costly one as the Lions were driving late in the game hoping to score a touchdown and convert the two point conversion.
Stanton has not had a stellar career so far. The Lions were hoping big things for Stanton when they made him their second round draft choice in 2007. His rookie season, Stanton spent the entire year on the injured reserve with a knee injury. The following year, he was able to get on the field when Lions QBs Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky were injured midway through the season. The Lions went out and signed Duante Culpepper midway through that season and started him immediately. That move gave Stanton and fans the message that the Lions felt Stanton was not NFL ready. Stanton did appear in a couple of games, but mainly to show off his feet rather than his arm.
In 2009, rookie QB Matthew Stafford was injured late in the season, and the Lions decided to see what Stanton can do for them. They named him the starter against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16. He threw 3 interceptions and had problems moving the ball with only 130 yards passing with no TDs. The talk around Lions Nation was that the Lions had to find a backup quarterback going into next season as Stanton was not capable to be a quality backup and they had no plans to sign back Culpepper. The Lions went out and acquired Hill via trade with the 49ers for a 7th round draft pick.
Stanton has improved from the 49ers game last year to Sunday’s game with the Giants. Yes, some of his passes against New York were still wobbly, but he was more accurate than in the past. He was able to rifle a pass to Calvin Johnson that led to a 87 yard touchdown. Stanton improved his QB rating from 31.5 from the 49er game to a respectable 73.4 in Sunday’s game.
Nobody would have expected the Lions to win when Stanton came into the game late in the 2nd quarter. He kept his composure mostly throughout the game. At times, he did stay in the pocket too long allowing the pocket to collapse costing a untimely sack or even worse a fumble. On top of that, the Lions shot themselves with penalties that extended the Giants drives and cut short the Lions’ drives. Stanton is not in the long-term plans for the Lions, but he showed himself yesterday that he does have the ability to perform in the NFL. He is on his final year of his current contract with the Lions.
As for the Lions, another failed fourth quarter comeback. The Lions brass do not like moral victories, but at least the Lions are making the road games competitive unlike the past 2 years. The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Lions with so many injuries. Stafford is expected to be back after the bye week and their next 6 out of 10 games are at home. It will be interesting to see how the team responds with Stafford.
About the Author
Written by Bob Ballard