EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Matthew Stafford laid on the ground for a minute and then grabbed at his facemask. As he walked off the field after a play that was ruled a fumble, he went to the bench, continually rubbing at his face after apparently getting poked in the eye.
Lions trainers looked at him briefly but didn’t get much of a chance. Detroit picked off Eli Manning’s next pass, quickly forcing Stafford back into Monday night's game versus the New York Giants. Not surprisingly for a player who has played hurt before in his career -- including with an injured finger on his throwing hand at MetLife Stadium last year -- he ended up back on the field without much rest or time for doctors to examine him.
And it didn’t matter, as Stafford soon threw a perfect touch pass to Eric Ebron in the end zone. It gave the Lions a 14-7 lead in the second quarter -- and it also moved Stafford past Pro Football Hall of Famer Bob Griese for No. 48 on the all-time touchdown-pass ledger.
Stafford was perfect on that drive, completing both of his passes to Ebron for 18 yards and the touchdown.
Stafford now has 193 touchdown passes in his career, and the players who are up next on the all-time list are a couple of more Hall of Famers: Ken Stabler (No. 47, 194 touchdown passes); and Bobby Layne (tied for No. 43 with 196 along with Steve DeBerg, Joe Ferguson and Norm Snead).
Passing Layne would be of some additional significance, considering Stafford has long been considered the best Lions quarterback since Layne a half-century ago.
Stafford consistently has been moving up the all-time lists for passing yards and touchdowns over the past two seasons.