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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Thanksgiving Week Has New Taste for Rams’ Matthew Stafford

Thousand Oaks – Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t enjoyed turkey without a pigskin appetizer since he’s become a family man.

For 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, who play a home game every Thanksgiving Day, it was always football before the feast.

“I loved playing on Thanksgiving. For the tradition, for the sport, all that,” Stafford said on Wednesday.

In 2015, the first year Matthew and Kelly Stafford were married, the Lions had to go back to work the next day because they had a Thursday game the following week.

“But all the other times, I feel like I was back at my house at 5, 5:30,” Stafford said. “Being able to have a Thanksgiving meal, watch some football with my family, almost felt like a fan out there.

“The next few days off was a lot of fun, and you could eat leftovers and do all that fun stuff.”

This time it will be different. Ram practices on Thursday morning. Then Stafford can spend the afternoon and all of Thanksgiving with Kelly and her four daughters.

“I’m sure they are — I hope they — are excited to bring me home,” he said.

Thanksgiving isn’t the only American tradition Stafford is getting a facelift this week.

The other is football at Lambeau Field, a 65-year-old stadium in Green Bay where the Rams (7–3) play the Packers (8–3) on Sundays.

The quarterback’s Lions teams were usually defeated at their annual NFC North games at Lambeau. Stafford is 3-7 on his debut since entering the NFL in 2009. This included Aaron Rodgers 2-6 in a game with quarterback The Packers, games for which Detroit was never rated better than a 3½-point underdog.

Sometimes rough sledding in cold conditions didn’t spoil Stafford’s memories of Lambeau.

“It’s one of my favorite places to play in the NFL,” he said after practice. “I’ve played some fun snow games. That’s what you dream of as a kid, to play at Lambeau Field in the snow. I don’t think it will snow this week, but it would be nice to play there.”

High winds of 36 degrees and 10- to 20-mph winds are forecast.

It was 31, with a 19-degree wind chill, the first time Stafford played at Lambeau, and he said he remembered the January 1, 2012 game “like it was yesterday.”

“That was a crazy game. That was a Matt Flynn game,” he said of the passed backup for 480 yards and six touchdowns while the playoff-bound Packers closed out the final regular-season game to Rodgers. “We played well too. It was a fun, down-to-the-wire game.

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“Thought we had won it in Tampa 2 (defense) to Tony Scheffler on the seam ball,” said Stafford, who passed for 520 yards, still his career high, 36 of 59 passes, five touchdowns and two with interception. “Then they came back and scored. Then I threw a pick for Nate Burleson on a sail route, I believe.”

His recall is correct.

Typical of Lions Memory, it was a loss, 45–41.

For Stafford’s first Lambeau game with the Rams, the Beaters made LA a one-point favorite after news of Rodgers’ toe injury broke out.

The game is a big one. The Rams are coming off a bye week after losses to the Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers, games that triggered early Stafford interceptions. Another defeat for the Rams, who are 1½ games behind the NFC West-leading Cardinals, could bury their hopes for a home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Stafford’s familiarity with Lambeau can’t hurt.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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