Stafford proves his toughness in wild win over Browns

Even though it pitted two, one-win teams against each other, the Browns-Lions matchup on Sunday produced the most thrilling game of Week 11.

With his team trailing 37-31 with only eight seconds remaining, rookie Matthew Stafford threw a desperation “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone, which was intercepted by Browns safety Brodney Pool. Cleveland started celebrating before Hank Poteat was flagged for pass interference and the ball was placed at the Browns’ 1-yard line for one last un-timed down.

The wild part is that Stafford was hurt on the “Hail Mary” throw after taking a shot after releasing the ball. Daunte Culpepper came in to run the final play but following a time out, Stafford re-entered the game and threw a touchdown to fellow rookie Brandon Pettigrew for the winning score.

Stafford, who finished 26-of-43 for 422 yards and five touchdowns, was in clear pain after the touchdown pass as he grabbed his left shoulder. Apparently he re-entered the game against the advice of team doctors and the Lions originally feared that he had fracture his collarbone. But X-rays revealed otherwise and he’ll likely be a game-time decision for Thanksgiving Day.

For those that haven’t seen Stafford play yet, you’re missing out. He takes tremendous abuse because his offensive line couldn’t block Jabba the Hutt, yet he stands in the face of pressure and delivers passes. He takes lick after lick and continues to get up despite the pounding. If he hasn’t endeared himself to the blue-collar fans in Detroit, I’d be very surprised.

On a side note from this game, Brady Quinn was outstanding. I’ve been highly critical of his play this season, but I’ll be the first to admit that he torched the Lions today. Granted, Detroit’s defense isn’t very good but a quarterback doesn’t throw for 304 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-33 passing on accident. It’s too bad Cleveland’s defense couldn’t sustain the lead Quinn got for them, because he was exceptional.

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