How Much Blame Does Matthew Stafford Deserve for Lions' 4-5 Record?

Nick KostoraContributor IIINovember 11, 2012

Oct 28, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

After losing 34-24 to the Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions have put themselves in a rather difficult position within the NFC North division.

QB Matthew Stafford has not been the 5,000-yard passer of a season ago. and fans demand answers for the team's struggles.

How much blame does the signal-caller deserve for the faults of the Honolulu Blue and Silver?

After all, he has thrown eight interceptions and has been heavily criticized for the sidearm-style release that has popped up on occasion. Stafford has hooked up with Calvin Johnson for only one touchdown all season and is averaging only 6.2 yards per pass.

However, the blame for Detroit's struggles largely fall in areas beyond the play of Stafford. The former Georgia Bulldog started off the season agonizingly slowly to some, but he has five games of at least 300 yards passing.

Stafford has thrown six touchdowns through the last three weeks, and the offense is starting to develop the type of balance that has been so desired in recent years.

The problems for the Lions stem largely from a decimated secondary that is pieced together by backup players and clearly cannot compete with the tough passing attacks that Detroit has faced all season.

Detroit has scored at least 24 points on six different occasions through nine games, but has also allowed 23 points or more in six games.

The offense is constantly put into early holes and forced to try to climb out of them to get back into games. This is obviously not a practice that can continue if the Lions want to have any hope of making a run at the postseason.

What Detroit can be excited about is the development of the offense and the direction in which Stafford and Co. are headed. Those sidearm issues we talked about are largely behind Stafford. He has thrown just two interceptions in the last three weeks and has not had a completion percentage below 60 since Week 6.

Blame does need to be placed somewhere in Detroit, but Stafford should not be the recipient.