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Was Matthew Stafford’s Super Bowl win legit? Rams’ stark downfall raises questions after fruitful season

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers

Matthew Stafford will miss this week's game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a neck injury, according to the Los Angeles Rams. It's a good thing because he hasn't helped his case when he's been on the field. This season, he has thrown 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. His quarterback rating is 87.4, which is a significant drop from his fortunes last season.

Last season, he had 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 102.9. He's on pace for his worst season since 2014. This has prompted speculation about whether his Super Bowl victory last year was a fluke. People naturally think that exceptional play by Cooper Kupp, brilliance from Odell Beckham Jr., and a defense anchored by Aaron Donald and Von Miller was the reason he lifted the Lombardi Trophy.

There is a grain of truth to that side of the story. Losing players with the capability of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. will affect any team negatively. Cooper Kupp has maintained his standards this season, but he is also now out injured along with Matthew Stafford. So, there has been a combination of factors that have led to the Los Angeles Rams being historically bad. But does such a performance wipe away the legitimacy of Matthew Stafford's Super Bowl win?

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Matthew Stafford's Super Bowl win will always remain with him

As always in football reporting, the pendulum seems to swing towards extremes and not moderation. When Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl, there was an immediate clamor in some quarters to call him a surefire future Hall-of-Famer. Now that the Rams are losing, he has been branded a fraud in many quarters.

The truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. We have enumerated his stats in the past, but the one place where he has not dipped this season is his completion percentage. His completion percentage last season was 67.2 percent and this year it inches upwards to 68 percent. Extrapolated over a season, he is also expected to have lesser interceptions than last year.

However, touchdown passes and yards have both decreased in the last year. This is a cause for concern because passing attempts per game and completions have not decreased significantly. This suggests that yards per play are decreasing.

So, if we just look at the offense, the problem isn't so much that Matthew Stafford isn't playing well as it is that receivers aren't getting open downfield as much as they did last year. As a result, the quarterback's output has decreased. In addition, he has been sacked 29 times in nine games this season, compared to 30 in all of last season. The offensive line is also not performing as well as it should.

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Hence, there is no doubt that the Los Angeles Rams have been disappointing. Matthew Stafford is certainly culpable in that. But that does not make his Super Bowl win any less legitimate. It is an achievement that can never be taken away.

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Edited by Krutik Jain
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