The Arizona Cardinals are no strangers to the NFC West’s newest starting quarterback. Matt Stafford, the newly-appointed signal-caller of the Los Angeles Rams, has faced the Cards eight times over the past nine seasons. If his career persists, there will be quite a few matchups between Stafford and the Redbirds in the coming years.
Arizona’s first meeting against Stafford came back in December of 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Detroit’s passer tossed three interceptions during a 38-10 loss to the Ryan Lindley-led Cardinals. The star of the day was running back Beanie Wells, who rushed for 67 yards and three touchdowns for the winning squad.
Stafford played well during a trip to the desert a year later, but still dropped a 25-21 decision to Carson Palmer and the Cards. The Lions quarterback completed 24 of 36 passes for 278 yards and two scores, and served up zero picks during the contest. It wasn’t enough, however, as Rashard Mendenhall’s one-yard touchdown with 1:59 to play proved to be the difference for Arizona.
The next season, once again at University of Phoenix Stadium, Stafford struggled against a very stingy Big Red defensive unit. Detroit’s signal-caller went 18 for 30, for just 183 yards and an interception during a 14-6 Cardinals triumph. Drew Stanton’s two first-quarter scores to wide receiver Michael Floyd was more than enough for the home team to record the victory.
In 2015, coordinator James Bettcher’s defense frustrated Stafford during a 42-17 Cards blowout of the Lions in “Motown”. Palmer tossed three touchdowns, while ball-carriers David Johnson and Andre Ellington combined for another three scores on the ground. Stafford’s final numbers on the day (20 for 32,188 yards with one touchdown and three picks) were far from impressive.
Two years later, Stafford finally engineered a win over Arizona. The 6’3, 220 pounder completed 29 out of 41 throws for 292 yards and four scores during a 35-23 Lions victory. The most crushing blow for the Cardinals was the campaign-ending wrist injury suffered by Johnson during the defeat.
The next season, in 2018, Stafford was credited with another triumph over the Redbirds. Detroit’s signal-caller didn’t have to do much during his squad’s 17-3 win over Josh Rosen and the Cards. Stafford put 15 of his 23 pass attempts on the mark, for a surprisingly-low 101 yards through the air.
During 2019’s regular-season opener, Stafford and Arizona rookie Kyler Murray were both outstanding in a contest that ended in a 27-27 tie. After a alarmingly-slow first half, Murray rallied to complete 29 of his 54 throws for 308 yards and the first two passing touchdowns of his NFL career. Stafford also turned in a sensational performance, completing 27 of his 45 passes for 385 yards and three scores during the State Farm Stadium clash.
This past season, Stafford was magnificent again during a 26-23 Lions triumph over the Cardinals in week three. The 2014 Pro Bowler hit the mark on 22 of his 31 attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns during the meeting in the desert. Stafford managed to engineer a late drive in the fourth quarter that culminated in a 39-yard game-winning field goal by Matt Prater.