Inside Matthew Stafford’s playoff record & history, from Lions losses to Rams’ Super Bowl glory

Matthew Stafford played 12 seasons for the Lions before he was traded to the Rams, for whom he’s played for three seasons. Although he put up his biggest numbers in Detroit, his more important playoff track record in Los Angeles has been much better in a much shorter time.

Stafford will play in his eighth career playoff game when his current Rams travel to Ford Field to face his former Lions in Saturday’s NFC wild-card matchup (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). Before he tries to add to his interesting postseason history, here’s looking back on his previous seven playoff games with his two teams.

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Matthew Stafford’s Lions playoff history


Stafford went 0-3 in his dozen seasons in Detroit. After getting there in his third season in 2011, the Lions settled for two more wild-card appearances in ’14 and ’16. That means all of the losses were on the road.

Saints 45, Lions 28: Jan. 7, 2012

Stafford and the Lions had no problem offensively, as he threw for 380 yards and three TDs. His Hall of Fame, go-to wide receiver Calvin Johnson was unstoppable, accounting for 12 catches, 211 yards, and two TDs. The Lions led 7-0 early, but after that, the Saints’ offense kept on rolling to a playoff-record 626 yards.

Drew Brees, Stafford’s No. 9 counterpart, threw for 466 yards and two TDs. The Saints also rushed for 167 yards and three more TDs. The Lions’ defense under coach Jim Schwartz gave them little chance for the upset, but Stafford did everything he could do in a rout.

Cowboys 24, Lions 20: Jan. 4, 2015

With Schwartz gone, the Lions were coached by Jim Caldwell for Stafford’s second playoff game. This one was the heartbreaker, as Detroit led 20-7 in Dallas midway through the third quarter. Stafford had a rough game with an interception and two lost fumbles, but he still threw for 323 yards and a TD.

Once again, the Lions had a hot start, with Stafford leading two TD drives in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. The Cowboys’ defense clamped down until another QB wearing No. 9, Tony Romo, could complete the 17-point comeback late in the fourth quarter. When Stafford had a shot at the game-winning drive, the Lions were thwarted by a game-clinching sack on fourth down by DeMarcus Lawrence.

There was controversy, however. earlier in the fourth quarter, as officials inexplicably reversed a clear pass interference call that would have given Stafford and the Lions a first down on a deep shot to tight end Brandon Pettigrew from the Cowboys’ 48. After a penalty and a botched punt, the Lions set up Romo at the Cowboys’ 41 for the game-winning drive.

Seahawks 26, Lions 6: Jan. 7, 2017

The Lions made another wild-card appearance under Caldwell, which was the last for Stafford in Detroit. Stafford struggled, throwing for only 205 scoreless yards, and he was sacked twice as the Lions couldn’t manage a TD against the Seahawks’ defense. He was easily outdueled by Russell Wilson, who was supported by running back Thomas Rawls, who rushed for 161 yards and a TD.

Matthew Stafford’s Rams playoff history


(Getty Images)

Stafford was traded to the Rams in 2021. All his playoff games then were played in the calendar year 2022 during the team’s winning Super Bowl 56 run. The Rams missed the playoffs last season, going 5-12 with Stafford being in the forefront of an injury-riddled hangover. Here’s looking at his 4-0 run with Los Angeles, all in the same postseason two years ago:

Rams 34, Cardinals 11: Jan. 17, 2022

The Rams destroyed Kyler Murray with their defense in this wild-card game, but Stafford made sure it wouldn’t be a game by going 13-of-17 passing for 202 yards and TDs to Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp. Stafford had a near-perfect passer rating of 154.5 while enjoying his first playoff win for the NFC West champions.

Rams 30, Buccaneers 27: Jan. 23, 2022

Outside of his Super Bowl 56, this has been Stafford’s biggest playoff performance, outdueling Tom Brady in Tampa Bay in the divisional round. Stafford and the Rams took a commanding 27-3 lead halfway through the third quarter, and he ended up throwing for 366 yards and two TDs. Brady was much less efficient in throwing for 323 yards, a TD, and an INT.

Of course, Brady led an epic comeback that was almost a sequel to Super Bowl 51 comeback against the Falcons. The Buccaneers tied the game with just 42 seconds left, but that’s when Stafford made two of the best passes of his career, hitting Kupp for 20- and 44-yard gains downfield on consecutive plays to set up the game-winning field goal.

Rams 20, 49ers 17: Jan. 30, 2022

Stafford and the Rams looked to be in real trouble when they fell behind 17-7 going into the fourth quarter at home in the NFC championship game, but Stafford out-dueled Jimmy Garoppolo with 337 passing yards and two TDs, including an 11-yard scoring strike to Kupp that spark the winning rally.

Stafford was fortunate to avoid a costly turnover on the game-tying field goal drive, however, when 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt dropped a would-be interception. He then delivered the game-winning field goal drive, which Garoppolo answered with an INT.

Rams 23, Bengals 20: Feb. 13, 2022

Stafford had the shakiest game of his playoff run in Super Bowl 56, throwing 283 yards and three TDs but also posting two INTs and averaging only 7.0 yards per attempt.

Down 20-16 with 6:13 left, Stafford orchestrates one of his classic fourth-quarter comebacks. He got a lot of help from Kupp, who posted 39 receiving yards, including the game-winning TD from a yard out. Stafford is vindicated from his time with the Lions by joining the exclusive club of QBs with a career-defining ring.


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