Matthew Stafford buys own gift at auction, gives it to Children’s Hospital patient

As part of his contribution to the Griese-Hutchinson-Woodson fundraiser gala on Saturday night, Matthew Stafford donated a package of six tickets and travel to the Lions Monday Night Football game against the Bears in Chicago this October. His generosity did not stop there. The package sold for $15,000 at the auction, which raised money to benefit the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The winning bidder? Matthew Stafford.

Stafford purchased his own gift and gave it to a young patient at the hospital named Faith Falzone, whom he was sitting with at the fundraiser. According to the Detroit News, Stafford and his girlfriend Kelly Hall have gotten to know the Falzone family and were touched by their story.

“They have been through so much in the past couple years, and to see how much they all supported each other and faith through their tough times was really inspiring” Stafford explained.

Two of the six tickets in Stafford’s package were donated by ESPN announcer Mike Tirico. The fundraiser was organized by former Michigan players Brian Griese, Charles Woodson, and Steve Hutchinson. The event raised over $1.5 million this year and has raised more than $5.5 million over the past six. Could Stafford have simply given the ticket package to Falzone and made her just as happy? Sure, but he decided to donate $15,000 to the foundation while he was at it.

“To have a guy that’s from Georgia get drafted by the Lions and be a very integral part of that team turning their franchise around,” Hutchinson said when asked about Stafford’s genorosity, “and then to be able to come to a U-M event that he has no affiliation with and donate $15,000 and buy his own tickets that he donated and then give them to a family whose daughter is going to have surgery in the next couple days here … you couldn’t write a better fictional story if you had to.”

Indeed you could not. Extremely classy move by Stafford and an A+ for unique execution.

H/T Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

Marshall Faulk is not impressed with Matthew Stafford throwing for 5,000 yards

In only his third season as an NFL starter and the first that he has played all 16 games, Matthew Stafford put up video game numbers. He threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdown passes. The NFL became an extremely pass-happy league this past season, but Stafford is only the fourth player ever to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season, with Drew Brees having done it twice and Tom Brady and Dan Marino once each. You could argue that puts Stafford in pretty impressive company, but Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is not impressed.

“Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing,” Faulk said according to MLive.com. “I don’t want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 (yards) if you have Calvin Johnson.”

Spoken like a true running back. Teams obviously do pass a lot more, but if throwing for 5,000 yards is “nothing” I’m not sure why only three other quarterbacks have done it in the history of the game. Does having Megatron help? Of course, but we’ve seen superstar receivers do absolutely nothing on many occasions because they have lousy quarterbacks throwing it to them.

Throwing for 5,000 yards will probably become more common now that teams have made passing a focal point, but that doesn’t mean those who accomplish the feat don’t deserve credit. It’s not a coincidence that the four people to do it are Stafford and three Hall of Famers.

Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson Form Best QB-WR Tandem in the NFL

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Anyone who reads LBS knows we’ve been fans of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson for a long time. Only injuries to either player (mostly Stafford) limited what they could accomplish together. Now that both players are healthy, we’re seeing how dominant they are. They’re currently forming the best quarterback-wide receiver partnership in the NFL. Let’s take a look at the best current tandems in the league.

Top 5 Quarterback-Wide Receiver Tandems

1. Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson

Stafford and Johnson have combined for nine touchdowns through five games. That’s the most touchdowns any player has scored the first five games of a season. Calvin is threatening Randy Moss’ 2007 record of 23 receiving touchdowns in a season (he’s on pace for 29 touchdowns). He’s fifth in the league in receiving yards with 451, and tied for eighth with 29 receptions.

The tandem has combined for 31% of Detroit’s passing yards this season, and 56% of the team’s offensive touchdowns.

Ready for this? In the 17.5 games they’ve played together, they’ve combined for 16 touchdowns. Few combinations in history can compete with that kind of success.

2. Tom Brady-Wes Welker

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Matthew Stafford Reminds Cris Carter that Calvin Johnson Is an Elite Receiver

The Detroit Lions are 3-0 and standing as one of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has played brilliantly, hooking up with receiver Calvin Johnson for six touchdowns. On Tuesday, he decided to take a shot at former Vikings wide receiver and current ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter, who ignorantly said in August that Calvin Johnson was not elite.

“Does anyone think 8 tds in 4 weeks will change chris carters mind about an “elite” receiver?” Stafford wrote on Twitter, per PFT.

It’s a little early in my mind for Stafford to be celebrating his team and their accomplishments given that we’re only three weeks into the season. Words like that would be more appropriate for the post-Super Bowl news conference.

But I digress.

The man known as Megatron is on a record-setting pace. Randy Moss holds the single-season record for touchdown receptions with 23 in 2007. Calvin Johnson is catching two per game, which would work out to 32. Thinking Megatron will maintain this pace is unreasonable, but the number he should shoot for is 18. If he gets that many, he will have surpassed Cris Carter’s career high of 17, which led the NFL in ’95. I think Calvin can get there.

I’ve been talking up the Stafford-Calvin tandem since last year, said they were poised for an explosive season in August, and picked Calvin Johnson to be the Offensive Player of the Year in my season preview. Only injuries and triple teams can slow Calvin. Let’s hope neither one happens.

Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan Poised for Breakout Seasons

You know LB likes to drop in some fantasy advice when it comes up, and he’s already done so recommending a few running backs. Now it’s time to recommend a few quarterbacks who are going to take that next step to the elite level.

It goes without saying that Aaron Rodgers is a stud. So are Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Michael Vick (though Vick is more risky). Peyton Manning is elite but his neck injury is a concern for me (he should be humming by week four or five). Tony Romo and Matt Schaub ordinarily round out the top group of fantasy quarterbacks, but I think two more will join them this year: Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan.

You know I’ve been all about Matthew Stafford since the draft when he dominated the Wonderlic. His explosive preseason has done nothing to quiet my praise that began a few weeks ago. Stafford has gone 24-31 for 356 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions during the preseason. His numbers remind me of what Aaron Rodgers did in the 2009 preseason. In his second year as a full-time starter, Rodgers went 29-41 for 465 yards, six touchdowns and no picks in the preseason. He went on to destroy the league for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns — his best statistical year. Saying Stafford will put up those numbers is asking a lot, but there is little doubt he’s going to become a star this year.

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Detroit Lions’ Offense led by Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson Will be Explosive

Cris Carter already got me vexed with his awful commentary about Calvin Johnson Friday. Not only was I upset because his analysis was factually incorrect, but also because I think Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Along with Matt Stafford, I believe Megatron will help produce one of the more entertaining offenses in football this season.

My love for the Stafford-to-Calvin combination is nothing new. I wrote about the tandem last November and listed the stats that show how unstoppable they are. It looks like they’re prepared to take things to the next level this year if their first preseason game was any indication.

Stafford went 6-7 for 71 yards and two touchdowns against Cincinnati’s top defense (I know, oxymoron) Friday night. He threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. The best part was a stat presented by Evan Silva of Rotoworld. Silva noted on twitter that the Lions “went shotgun on 21 of first 28 snaps tonight. That’s what the offense is. Shotgun-heavy, pass-first spread. Big-time stats coming.”

My mouth watered after reading that. I know people are skeptical of taking Stafford (and Calvin somewhat) in fantasy leagues because of injury histories. I’m not. Those guys are going to blow up this year and the Lions will be a force in the NFC. I’m not going as far as Peter King and putting Detroit in the Super Bowl, but they’re certainly a team on the rise.

Matthew Stafford Likely Out for the Season, Shoulder Becoming a Big Concern

The news regarding Matthew Stafford’s shoulder has gotten progressively worse since he injured it on Sunday against the Jets.  Preliminary tests indicated he may have suffered a Grade 3 separation of his right shoulder, which is not good.  That would mean three ligaments in the quarterback’s AC joint have been damaged.  This is Stafford’s second shoulder injury of the season, the first being a Grade 2 separation which he suffered week two against Chicago.

According to FoxSportsDetroit.com, Stafford is going to miss the remainder of the year.  Even if the injury were the same one he suffered week two (and it appears worse), he’d need six weeks to recover.  Lions coach Jim Schwartz would be wise to give him the remainder of the year and off-season to properly heal rather than bringing him back for the final two games of 2010.

While Schwartz claims the two shoulder injuries Stafford has suffered this year are unrelated, they’re both to the same shoulder.  I’m no doctor, but that sure sounds related in my book.  Whether one injury led to the other or not, two shoulder injuries to your franchise signal caller’s throwing arm in the same season is bad news.

If Stafford needs surgery — and I’m guessing he will — this will be a huge concern for the Lions organization.  It may not be time to panic just yet, but Detroit has been making strides toward improving their abysmal squad and a lot of that starts with it’s quarterback.  After watching one of their potential saviors separate his shoulder twice in one season — his second in the NFL — I’m sure Lions fans are in “here we go again” mode.  I would be, too.

Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images