DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: Alphonso Smith #27 of the Detroit Lions scores during the second quarter after intercepting a pass from Christian Pondner #7 of the Minnesota Vikings during the game at Ford Field on December 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Vikings 34-28. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
This series took a couple of weeks off due to the Detroit Lions losing a couple of games and nobody really standing out as being deserving of a game ball. It is back after Sunday's game since several players performed well enough to be in the running for a game ball. Most of them are on defense, and ultimately I decided to give this week's game ball to cornerback Alphonso Smith.
Smith has had an up and down season. He broke his foot before training camp and fell down the depth chart as a result. He had a tough time seeing much playing time and couldn't crack the rotation in the secondary until injuries started piling up.
In Week 14, with Brandon McDonald being released and Chris Houston out again with an injury, Smith got a chance to play quite a bit and didn't disappoint. Much like last season, when he had five interceptions in 12 games, Smith made some big plays on Sunday. He picked off a pass in the first quarter to set up the Lions' second touchdown of the game, and in the second quarter he jumped a route and had a pick-six. He broke out the "Thriller" dance after the touchdown and gave Lions fans a reason to celebrate.
I expect Smith to be an important player in the Lions secondary going forward, especially if guys like Houston, Aaron Berry and Eric Wright are still dealing with injuries.