DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford's feet have been a talking point in NFL circles for the past nine months for all the wrong reasons.
After years of shoddy footwork and backpedaling heaves, Stafford -- in the first game of the Jim Caldwell era -- did something he's struggled with for years: felt pressure and climbed the pocket.
"I worked out with Stafford sometimes in the offseason, we've been doing a lot of footwork drills, so you see it paying off," Calvin Johnson joked.
On the Lions' first two touchdowns of the season, Stafford was flushed from the pocket. In the past these scampers left the quarterback retreating. Against the New York Giants on Monday night, he was an attacking player with his feet before throwing a strike. On the third touchdown Stafford showed more mobility, running the ball from 5 yards out, icing the game.
The sloppy footwork has been only part of past problems. Bonehead decisions leading to terrible turnovers have negated his natural talent. In each of the final five home games of last season, Stafford threw two or more interceptions.
If the 26-year-old's improved footwork was refreshing on Monday, his decision-making was sublime.
Stafford seemed to make a conscious effort not to force passes to receivers who weren't open. He appeared content to live for another play -- a trait he's struggled to master.
"Matt's elite, he's been elite," Reggie Bush said after the game. "The biggest thing we talked about this year was not turning the ball over. And I think Stafford took that responsibility on his shoulders and he showed it today that he can be an elite quarterback when he has the ball in his hands."
The Lions hired Caldwell and tasked him with improving Stafford's efficiency. After one week under the new staff the results looked vastly improved: 22-of-32 passing for 346 yards, two touchdowns, a rushing score and zero interceptions.
Now the sixth-year passer must prove "The Summer of Stafford" won't shutter after a one-week aberration against a bad team.