The Duel

VIDEO: Remembering When Matthew Stafford Threw a Game-Winning Pass With an Injured Shoulder

Max Staley
Video of Matthew Stafford's iconic performance against the Cleveland Browns in 2009.
Video of Matthew Stafford's iconic performance against the Cleveland Browns in 2009. / YouTube/Highlight Heaven
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Through his 11 seasons in the league, Matthew Stafford has earned a reputation as one of the toughest players in the NFL. Perhaps part of that is due to his iconic performance as a rookie in 2009, when he threw the game-winning pass against the Cleveland Browns despite dealing with a brutal shoulder injury.

Trailing 24-3 in the first quarter, Stafford led the team back to win the game, 38-37. Though he threw for 422 yards and 5 touchdowns, the majority of his heroics came in the fourth quarter.

On what looked to be the final play of the game, Stafford took a brutal hit, as a Browns' lineman drove him into the ground, landing on him with his entire body weight. Stafford was noticeably in pain and his left arm was hanging awkwardly.

Luckily for Detroit, there was a penalty on the play, and the Lions would have one final chance to score the game-winning touchdown. Stafford miraculously gutted it out, came back into the game, and threw an absolute rocket to Brandon Pettigrew to seal the win.

This game was certainly one of the earliest indications that Stafford was something special, as he combined his rare arm talent with an unstoppable competitive drive. He was on pace for the best season of his career in 2019 before missing time due to injury, and Lions fans surely are pumped to see him back on the field, making the special plays he's become known for since 2009.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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