Matthew Stafford’s streak of consecutive starts came to an end, with broken bones in his back sidelining the Detroit Lions’ quarterback for Sunday’s game versus the Bears in Chicago.
Doctors will not allow Stafford to play, despite the fact that he was practicing and throwing 60-yard passes on Friday. He is now contemplated week-to-week with the back injury, with one source telling ESPN that he could be out “this week or three weeks.” Jeff Driskel will start Sunday in his place.
The injury brings an end to Stafford’s impressive streak of 136 consecutive regular-season starts, the sixth longest for a quarterback in NFL history. The last time someone other than Stafford started at quarterback for the Lions was Shaun Hill in Week 17 of the 2010 season.
Stafford’s injury dates back to last season, but he has been playing through the pain. Doctors insisted on further testing that revealed the extent of the damage in his back. When asked about the injury on Wednesday, the quarterback said he was “fine.” He was listed as questionable on the injury report and practiced every day on a limited basis this week.
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Stafford is fourth in the NFL with 2,499 passing yards. Driskel started five games for Cincinnati last season, where he completed 59.7 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Stafford, who also has had a hip injury, is no stranger to back issues. Last season, he played through the fracture of one of the bony protrusions that extend from each vertebrae. This injury is not, he said last week, related to that, and he was planning to start yet another game. Only Philip Rivers, with 218, has more consecutive starts among active quarterbacks, and the streak is a matter of pride and competitiveness.
Signed by the Lions in September, Driskel started five games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, completing 59.7 percent of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns.
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