Matthew Stafford’s Season Is Essentially Over | From Super Bowl Champ To Poster Child For Injured Reserve

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 13: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on from the sidelines during the third quarter of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford’s season with the Los Angeles Rams is over, as the quarterback has been placed on injured reserve. Although he would be eligible to return in Week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Rams will likely rest their star QB and give it another go with him next season.

The quarterback cleared concussion protocol on Friday but was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks due to a neck injury. That absence has now extended to missing at least the next four games with the decision to place him on IR. With a 3-8 record, the Rams will likely hold the 34-year-old from returning to the field. This season Stafford has thrown for 2,087 yards, ten touchdowns, and eight interceptions through nine starts in 2022.

Stafford’s Season Over?

Just a season ago, Stafford was the darling of the NFL, and now the vicious hits he has endured have had him in concussion protocol. After a lengthy career with the Detroit Lions, everything came together for Stafford when he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. He led the Rams to become Super Bowl champions in his first year. Now the team has disappointed those who set high expectations for the team. In what many consider a lost season which has been a harrowing year for the Pro Bowler, the news about Stafford is a final blow.

An elbow injury plagued Stafford for most of the offseason, and he never seemed entirely healed from it for the first half of the year. Aside from his magnetic connection with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the offense needed to be more in sync. Ironically, Kupp is now on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald will also miss this Sunday’s game. It is the first time he has not played due to an injury in his entire career.

Will The Rams Bounce Back?

Looking ahead in the wake of the loss of Stafford and the season team’s draft prospects are not ideal. The Rams do not own their first-round pick in 2023 after the team traded that pick to Detroit when they acquired Stafford. That pick would be No. 4 overall if the season were over today.

Stafford signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the team in March and had elbow surgery in the offseason to prepare for a run at a back-to-back Super Bowl run. However, his stats indicate he was never truly ready for the season, which began with concern over his health before he suffered a vicious hit during the Rams’ loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was then inactive during the next game, a divisional clash against the Arizona Cardinals that they lost 27-17.

Although he flew to Pittsburgh for consultation with concussion specialists and came back against the New Orleans Saints, he had to leave the game early after suffering another on-field hit. Now the Rams can only hope that time will heal Stafford and that they can capture the magic from his debut season in Southern California.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.