ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Matthew Stafford could barely speak. When he talked to the media late Wednesday afternoon, his voice was strained – and it was clearly affecting him. The Detroit Lions quarterback is sick.
His whole family is dealing with a bug, he said, and with three young children around, this tends to happen.
“I started feeling not so good before the game on Sunday,” Stafford said. “And I’ve just kind of been hanging on, but it should be good by next Sunday. Don’t worry about it.”
Except there’s reason to at least pay attention to it. While the Lions played at home last Sunday -- and his voice didn’t appear strained then -- he had the Ford Field crowd quiet as he threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the New York Giants. So far this season, he's thrown for 2,093 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions -- on pace for his most yards since 2012 and, perhaps, the best overall season of his career.
This Sunday will be different against the Oakland Raiders. Their Black Hole fan base is loud, passionate and can make life miserable for opposing offenses. Especially if the voice doesn’t come back as soon as he hopes.
It’s not the first time Stafford has lost his voice. In 2014, the Lions were playing at Carolina and it started to go during the game. His solution then was to scream louder, something he might have to rely on again if his voice problems linger.
He’s been taking medication to try to heal, and he’s got a few days yet.
Stafford has started every game for the Lions since the beginning of the 2011 season and now has the second-longest active streak among quarterbacks with 135 straight starts after Matt Ryan went down with an injury. He’s played through injury multiple times, so there's no reason to believe this will be a problem either.
“It means a lot, obviously. I just want to be out there for the guys,” Stafford said. “It doesn’t mean anything other than just I want to be available for those guys. I was actually texting Matt [Ryan] last week, trying to figure out if he was going to go or not. I’m buddies with him. I wanted him to keep history going because I know he is a tough guy that has played through a lot in his career and just wasn’t able to do it.
“It’s like I say, sometimes you just have to get a little bit lucky, something you can play through. I was able, I have been able to be lucky in that regard.”
Which is why when Stafford says “I think it will be fine by Sunday,” whether it is or isn't, there’s reason to believe Stafford will start his 136th consecutive game.