Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I was fairly non-plussed about Matthew Stafford during his UGA days. A search of this blog reveals very few pre-draft mentions, which basically means I didn't have anything negative to say, but wasn't overflowing with reverence either (and also that I'm not about to write significantly about college football, considering the plethora of more-informed voices). I just felt he saw Georgia as an annoying bump on his path to the NFL, and probably docked him a few points for it.
Of course, if that was the way he felt, it's hard to argue with now. Especially as of November 22nd around 4 p.m., when I officially became a Matthew Stafford fan. He really performed a miracle, and I'm not even talking about the literal last-second heroics. He actually made me care about another football game, just minutes after having my psyche destroyed by a Falcons overtime loss. There I was, pitcher almost empty, wallowing, wallowing, wallowing - and suddenly caring about two 1-8 teams crossing the finish line.
If you haven't seen the highlights, check them out here.
And let Peter King tell it:
An injured player who leaves the field has to sit for at least one play -- unless there is a charged timeout by either team. Stafford knew. And he immediately began trying to get up, but the doctors kept telling him, basically, to hold on, hoss -- he wasn't authorized to go back in. But Stafford got up and weaved his way onto the field, telling offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to call a pass play if he wanted, because he had one play left in him.
"Only one,'' Stafford said. "But I knew I had one. I had the adrenalin going.'' He jogged onto the field and Culpepper jogged back off.
Meanwhile, Schwartz hollered at his medical staff: "Is he good to go?'' And one of the doctors said no, and Schwartz asked what was wrong, and the doc said he didn't know because they hadn't had time to examine him yet.
"The kid put himself back in the game,'' Schwartz said.
Lord knows what the Browns thought the wounded Stafford would call, but tight end Brandon Pettigrew, a fellow first-round pick in 2009, ran a short square-in at the back of the end zone, and Stafford flicked it to him. Ballgame.
"His best play wasn't the last play, or the second-to-last,'' Schwartz told me. "His best play was eluding four of our medical guys to get back onto the field.''
Now reports show Stafford was suffering a separated shoulder during that last play, which puts him squarely in crazy-as-Mel-Gibson-in-Lethal-Weapon-2 territory. Not a bad place to be.