The Detroit Lions looked much cleaner in their play against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Even though almost all of the starters did not play against the Bills, it was nice to see the team put together a solid performance.
But within that solid performance were a few standout players that really made some noise. Here are the top five candidates for the preseason Week 4 game ball.
Preseason game ball standings:
Jace Billingsley - 3 points
Tahir Whitehead - 3 points
Theo Riddick - 3 points
Marvin Jones - 3 points
Dwayne Washington - 3 points
Haloti Ngata - 2 points
Zach Zenner - 1 point
Now onto this week's candidates:
Washington may have sealed his spot on the final 53-man roster after taking all of the reps with the "first-team" offense. Washington didn't waste any time on Thursday, taking his first rush of the day 58 yards for a touchdown. However, Washington was pretty quiet the rest of the way, only managing 10 yards on his other six carries.
Many, myself included, had Lee's roster chances at next-to-zero after being terribly quiet through three weeks in the preseason. But Lee exploded on Thursday night, grabbing six catches for 78 yards and a touchdown in the first half alone. Lee was pretty clearly squared up against teammate Jace Billingsley and came out the clear victor in the first half...
... because the second half belonged to Billingsley. After struggling to get much out of a handful of catches in the first two quarters, Billingsley shined in the third. First, Jace scampered for 47 yards on a quick in-route. Then, a few plays later, Billingsley found the end zone for the second time this preseason with an impressive one-handed grab.
The Lions got a long look at Hyder and they saw him dominate throughout the first half and into the second. Hyder picked up two sacks and a couple extra pressures in the first two quarters and had a strip sack in the third that was wiped out by a penalty on Alex Carter. On that same possession, Hyder tallied at least three pressures on the quarterback and picked up another sack late in the game. Just about every drop back developed into a play where Hyder looked prime to hit the quarterback.
Although Rudock struggled on a few downfield throws again, when the Lions asked him to dink and dunk his way down the field, Rudock was extremely efficient. Finishing the day with three touchdowns and no interceptions, Rudock managed to lead the offense on several scoring drives while avoiding any major mistakes. Additionally, Rudock showed some skills with his feet, escaping the pocket at appropriate times and picking up 33 yards on the ground.