ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Matthew Stafford is trying to complete the list Sunday afternoon against Jacksonville. For all the games he’s played, for the 264 touchdowns he’s thrown, there's one thing the Detroit Lions quarterback has not done: He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass against the Jaguars.
He done it against every other team, just not the Jags. It was a fact that seemed to mystify him when he was told about it Wednesday afternoon, especially since he’s thrown for more than 250 yards in both of his games against Jacksonville but he hasn’t thrown an interception, either.
“That needs to happen for sure,” Stafford said. “Golly, Calvin [Johnson] had 100 the one week he couldn’t practice and could only turn right. That was when we played at their place. He had a bad knee and he could only turn right. The other one was at home and I think we had 21 rushes for 14 yards or something like that. [Former Jaguars quarterback Blake] Bortles kind of turned it over a couple times on us.
“But yeah, I need to make that happen. Sorry for going back into the archives there. But I’d love to have that on the tombstone one day or something.”
In order for Stafford, who has thrown a touchdown pass in seven straight games, to have a chance to rectify that, he likely needs to fix some of the issues he’s had in his own game this season.
The 32-year-old has been inconsistent for the majority of the Lions’ 1-3 start, at times looking like the quarterback who was playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2019 and at other times consistently missing receivers.
In two of Detroit’s four games, Stafford has completed less than 60% of his passes and in a third he completed just 60.6% of his throws. He hasn’t had a 300-yard game yet and has thrown interceptions in three of the Lions' four games this season.
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell pointed to Stafford’s footwork as being part of the issue.
“It usually goes back to your feet,” Bevell said. “Your feet really tell you the story, your feet [are] what gets you through your progressions, gets you through the play.”
Bevell also quickly said he believes that’s something fixable in Stafford’s game -- a sentiment Stafford agreed with Wednesday when asked about how he felt his footwork was so far in 2020. Stafford, like many quarterbacks, said he has focused on his footwork as long as he’s been playing football -- that’s over 20 years at this point -- so he knows when something might be a little off.
“It’s just being as consistent as you possibly can with it,” Stafford said. “That goes back to our entire offense, you know. The more often we can be consistent, the better off we’re going to be. That’s myself included, so just go back and try to make sure that when everything’s right in front of me, I’m right with my feet and that usually leads to good plays for our team.”
More often than not, good plays for the Lions have been difficult to find. Stafford’s completion percentage -- 60.6 -- is his lowest since 2014. With three interceptions, he’s on pace to throw 12 this season, which would be his most since 2015.
He’s had a particular issue throwing deep, an area where he had a lot of success in 2019. So far this season, he’s completed 4 of 13 passes (30.8%) when he’s thrown the ball 20 yards or more in the air downfield and has been off-target on 46.2% of his deep throws. It’s the lowest completion percentage since 2014, when he completed 18 of 61 downfield passes (29.5).
His QBR of 66.3 on downfield throws is his lowest since 2013, when he hit on 21 of 68 downfield passes.
The deep passes are only part of it but have long been a staple to Stafford’s game. It was an area that looked sharp throughout training camp, but once regular season games began it went missing -- a critical key to Detroit’s ability to move efficiently downfield.
Much of it which starts at his feet.
“I thought we were really at a good place last year, and then keep in mind, I mean, he had all that time off and not running plays with guys in our offense,” Bevell said. “Just continuing to work on those little details, making sure that our feet are helping us get through progressions.
“Helping us make the decisions and that we bring our feet with us through all our throws.”
Information from ESPN Stats & Information was used in this story. Follow Stats & Info on Twitter @ESPNStatsInfo.