(News4usonline) – When quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl following the 2021 season, he played in all 17 games of the regular season and the postseason. In 2022, Stafford’s season was cut short due to an injury after nine games.
What the veteran quarterback means to the Rams is toughness, resilience, and leadership. On a bang-bang play against the Dallas Cowboys on the road, Stafford dove into the endzone and injured the thumb on his throwing hand and eventually had to come out of the game in the third quarter.
With the Rams fighting to stay in the contest after the Cowboys had taken a 33-3 lead, Stafford directed the team to two straight touchdown scoring drives, making things interesting.
After the Rams cut their deficit to 33-15, Stafford took a pass from wide receiver Tutu Atwell and dove into the endzone to convert the play to bring the score to 33-17. Shortly before the third period ended, Stafford was out of the lineup, replaced by Brett Rypien. He did not return.
So now the waiting game takes place whether or not Stafford will miss significant time from the team or not. They eventually lost to the Cowboys, 43-20. After the game, the obvious attention centered around Stafford and his right thumb.
Rams head coach Sean McVay showed empathy towards Stafford and what he is going through.
“I feel for him more than anybody,” McVay said during a postgame press conference. “If, in fact, it is going to be an injury that leaves him out, the first thing he’s worried about is ‘Alright, I’m feeling like I let people down.’ No. This guy is the ultimate competitor. Couldn’t respect or love anybody as much as I love this guy in regards to what he means to this team, as a person first and then as a player, second. Hopefully, he’s going to be okay. If not, then we’ll figure out what the next move is for us. Sometimes that’s how things go, and that’s the unfortunate part of sports depending upon how we move forward.”
Should the Rams have to move forward without Stafford for any amount of time, first up on the list to replace him is Rypien. Clearly, the Rams are going to have to search for other options. Rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett was placed on the team’s non-football injury list (NFI) earlier this season.
So McVay and the Rams will have to explore other possible candidates to fit into the quarterback room should Stafford miss time. If Stafford is okay, the Rams will be fine, and unlike the Dallas game where the contest quickly got out of hand, will figure to be competitive enough to fight for a postseason berth.
McVay has no doubts that despite the lopsided loss that the Rams absorbed at the hands of the Cowboys, his ballclub will respond.
“Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, this provides an opportunity for us to really be tested,” McVay said. “I do trust the character of the men in that locker room and the people and their resilience, and their ability to be able to get up off the mat and let’s respond the way we’re proud of.”
Lead photo: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) goes back to pass against the defense of the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 8, 2023. Photo by Mark Hammond/News4usonline
Dennis has covered and written about politics, crime, social justice, sports, and entertainment. Dennis currently covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and Olympic sports. Dennis is the editor of News4usonline.com and serves as the publisher of the Compton Bulletin newspaper. He earned a journalism degree from Howard University.