Matthew Stafford dragged the Detroit Lions to three postseasons and 74 wins in his tenure. None of these wins came in the postseason, as Stafford failed to leave the Lions past the first round. However, of these 74 wins across his 12 seasons there, 38 of them have been credited to game-winning drives led by Stafford. Thus, over half of Stafford’s wins in Detroit were from GWD’s, or 51.35 percent. This begs the question, is there anyone with a higher game-winning drive ratio in NFL history? Is anyone even close to him?
First off, let’s look at the quarterbacks with the most game-winning drives of all time. Peyton Manning holds the record with 54 GWD, but with 186 wins total, that’s only 29 percent of his wins coming from the final drive of the game. This trend continues with other greats like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, etc. This is because quarterbacks that have many game-winning drives are just flat-out good at winning, period.
The next best thing to do is look for active quarterbacks who somehow rank high on the GWD list. If applicable, we could also look for quarterbacks with short careers on the list as well. Players like Andrew Luck (37.7 percent), Russell Wilson (31.63 percent), and Andy Dalton (38.57 percent) all have respectable GWD ratios but still are dwarfed by Stafford’s now seemingly absurd 51.35 percent.
There was, however, one active quarterback that is shockingly challenging Stafford for the title. None other than Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders haven’t done a whole lot of winning since Carr joined them seven years ago. However, when they win, it’s a 50/50 chance whether or not Carr led them to a game-winning drive. That’s right; Derek Carr is the only other quarterback in NFL history with a GWD ratio of 50 percent or higher.
24 of Carr’s 47 victories with Oakland/Las Vegas have been from his game-winning drives, giving a 51.06 percent game-winning drive ratio, just shy of Stafford’s current record. Barring the emergence of a young gunslinger with an absurd clutch gene, this is a head-to-head race between Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr for the all-time GWD ratio title.