Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford Solid in 2011 Opener Against the Buccaneers
Matthew Stafford wasn't perfect on Sunday afternoon as the Detroit Lions faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was good enough to win the road opener, 27-20 on a hot day in Florida.
Stafford had some miscues, including a poorly thrown ball that was tipped into the hands of star corner, Aqib Talib for a defensive touchdown. Stafford also missed high on a number of throws in the first drive leading many watching to believe he was in for a long afternoon.
Stafford calmed down, finishing the game 24/33 for 305 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT. His 118.9 rating is the best of his career and did much to legitimize the hype Stafford and the Lions have received leading up to this season.
Like normal, Stafford's favorite target on the day was Calvin Johnson whom he targeted 10 times. Johnson turned that into six receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew and Jahvid Best also had great games through the air for the Lions.
Stafford is a must-start in all fantasy leagues next week as the Lions take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener. Since the Chiefs were unable to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills, Stafford, Johnson and company should fare well.
Michael Schottey is an NFL Associate Editor for Bleacher Report. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, he has professionally covered the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the scouting combine and the Senior Bowl. Follow him on Twitter.
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