Matthew Stafford will miss a third straight game for the Detroit Lions after head coach Matt Patricia confirmed the quarterback will not play against the Washington Redskins.
Quarterback Stafford previously missed the defeats to the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with a back injury, leaving the Lions with a 3-6-1 record.
The first overall pick in the 2009 draft had started the previous 136 games prior to this absence, with Jeff Driskel replacing him as starter.
"He [Stafford] won't be on the field," Patricia confirmed to the media ahead of the Week 12 trip to Washington, before praising the 31-year-old for continuing to demonstrate his leadership qualities despite being out of action.
"What Matthew has done is phenomenal. We have a lot of players that are maybe not out there for the week who help the players get ready," he added.
"He's done a great job at practice of being on the sidelines and going through the keys, going through the tendencies and going game plan with Jeff.
"He brings a lot of value to our team by just being there, just with his general presence. What he does as a leader for us is really important."
Matthew Stafford won’t play Sunday, per Matt Patricia. It’ll be his third game in a row missed.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) November 22, 2019
Stafford made clear on Thursday that he still hopes to return to action this season, even though Detroit's recent slump has pushed them out of the playoff picture.
"I love playing football," he told the media.
"I appreciate all the hard work that all the guys in this locker room and in this organisation put into going out there and trying to win games on Sunday and I love being a part of that."
Driskel has thrown for 478 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in back-to-back defeats for the Lions.