The quarterback who still has something to prove showed that maybe he really is built to win big games.

The head coach who still does too, showed that maybe he’s not.

The Los Angeles Rams, and QB Matthew Stafford, defeated the Arizona Cardinals, coached by Kliff Kingsbury on Monday, 30-23. While this was still a December regular season game in December, it might signal plenty about the January playoff ones to come.

Stafford did everything to win it. Kingsbury did enough to not.

Start with Stafford, who is closing in on 50,000 career passing yards, 320 career touchdowns and $250,000,000 in career salary.

There has never been any doubt about his ability to throw a football, a primary reason he was the No. 1 quarterback recruit coming out of high school, the No. 1 overall draft pick coming out of college.

Winning critical games? That’s a different question. In a dozen seasons in Detroit, Stafford never won a playoff game (0-3 in the wild-card round) or a division crown. Even significant regular season victories are tough to find on his resume.

The Rams went all in on his last offseason though, making a deal that included QB Jared Goff and two first-round draft picks on the belief that Stafford was a winner dragged down by Lions dysfunction.

The Rams are now 9-4, but it wasn’t really until Monday, on the road, with an injury and COVID-depleted roster, that Stafford looked like someone capable of leading L.A. to the Super Bowl.

He threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, including multiple completions featuring near impossible accuracy. He threw sidearm, downfield and seemingly through needles. He was brilliant.

“I thought Matthew Stafford was outstanding,” said Rams coach Sean McVay. “I thought he made great decisions, some unbelievable big shots he took advantage of, he was great on third down.”

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford calls out signals during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick…



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