Better grasp of offense has Matthew Stafford confident Rams ‘can go above and beyond’ last year

Expectations were lofty for Matthew Stafford ahead of his first season with the Los Angeles Rams.

Following a 41-touchdown showing and a Super Bowl-winning campaign, Stafford surely lived up to, if not exceeded, those aspirations.

As a bid for a repeat beckons, Stafford believes he’s further ahead this year than the last because of his comfortability, making back-to-back ambitions all the more achievable.

“At this point in the year last season, I think to myself what I knew about this team and this offense, and it’s just so small in comparison to what I know and understand now,” Stafford said, via the team’s website’s Stu Jackson. “So that gives me great comfort in the fact that we can go above and beyond what we did last year.”

Stafford matched a career high with his aforementioned 41 TD tosses, which were complemented by 4,886 yards passing and a 67.2 completion percentage that also matched a career best.

While much was expected of the 12-year Detroit Lions starter upon his Los Angeles debut season, it certainly doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of reaching the NFL mountaintop. Stafford led the Rams to a 12-5 record, an NFC West title and then playoff wins over Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers, and finally Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Biggest lesson I learned from last season, I think, is it’s never easy,” Stafford said. “People see the end product, they see us hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, but it was a struggle.”

As much of a struggle as the 2021 season was for Stafford and Co., it was worth it after years of struggles with the Lions.

In his dozen seasons in Detroit, Stafford had played in just three postseason games with nary a victory to show for it. In one season in Los Angeles, Stafford played in four postseason games with four victories to show for it.

Arduous as the road to a Lombardi was, Stafford is all the more excited to reach that mountaintop again.

“I’m excited about it,” Stafford said. “When you get a taste of that success, it only makes you want it more.”

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