Matthew Stafford Sets NFL Single-Season Record for 4th-Quarter Comeback Wins

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2016

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) points out coverage against the Detroit Lions in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The Detroit Lions' wild 2016 continued in Week 14, as quarterback Matthew Stafford engineered another fourth-quarter comeback in a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears

Per Randall Liu, the NFL's director of football communications, Stafford's eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime in 2016 are the most in a season since the 1970 merger. 

Stafford struggled against the Bears on Sunday, throwing two interceptions and getting sacked three times. He finished 21-of-35 with 223 yards and two total touchdowns. 

With the Lions trailing 17-13 after Bears cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc returned a Stafford interception 24 yards for a touchdown with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the 28-year-old went back to work. 

The Lions went 76 yards on seven plays in just under four minutes to reclaim the lead. Stafford finished things off with a seven-yard rushing touchdown.


Matthew. Stafford. BALLER. Running over his own teammates and scoring TDs... #CHIvsDET https://t.co/qkJn4z145F

Per ESPN Stats & Info, it was Stafford's first rushing touchdown since Week 11 of the 2015 season. He's had success in the past finding the end zone as a runner, with 12 rushing touchdowns prior to Sunday, including four in 2012. 

The Detroit Free Press had some fun with Stafford's dramatics after the Lions' win.

Freep Sports @freepsports

AGAIN. #Lions https://t.co/TIP04U2Ia7

Expectations weren't high in Detroit this season following Calvin Johnson's retirement. Things have changed dramatically, with the Lions changing their franchise-long narrative of finding ways to lose. 

Stafford has evolved into a better quarterback out of necessity because the Megatron-sized safety net went away. He's getting everyone involved in things, as five players entered Week 14 with at least 39 receptions. 

The hallmark of a great quarterback is being able to find wins for his team on days when he isn't playing his best. 

Stafford is putting himself on the short list of MVP candidates because of his ability to find ways to win late, and he's having a terrific season overall. He entered Week 14 completing 67.2 percent of his passes with 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

Combine those numbers with an NFL-record eight fourth-quarter and overtime wins this season, and he could become Detroit's first MVP since Barry Sanders shared the award with Brett Favre in 1997.


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