After losses like Sunday’s, it seems like a fool’s errand to give out a Game Ball to the losing team. The Carolina Panthers worked the Detroit Lions for the majority of the game, and it feels undeserving to give anyone praise after such a poor team performance.
But in an effort to try and remain positive and find silver linings from Sunday’s game, let’s hand out a Game Ball and acknowledge some good individual performances, because—believe it or not—a few Lions players did perform well against the Panthers.
Before we get into this week’s candidates, here are the Game Ball standings through four weeks.
Darius Slay - 4
Glover Quin - 3
Matthew Stafford - 3
Ezekiel Ansah - 3
Anthony Zettel - 3
Jamal Agnew - 2
Kenny Golladay - 2
Matt Prater - 2
Ameer Abdullah - 2
This week’s candidates:
Stats: 8 tackles (4 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss
The Lions finally got their first-round pick back on Sunday and it showed. Davis was all over the field and a huge reason Detroit completely shut down Carolina’s running game (28 rushes, 28 yards). His tackling wasn’t on point, but he was shooting gaps so often that he broke up a handful of plays, allowing his teammates to clean up the mess.
The Lions’ run defense looks completely different when Davis is out there and the stats show it.
Stats: 2 catches, 24 yards, 2 TDs
The Detroit Lions didn’t have much of a chance to win against the Panthers on Sunday, but what little chance they did have at the end of the game was thanks to Fells’ to late touchdown catches.
After fans were treated to a frustrating game by Eric Ebron, Fells’ two receptions were a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t Fells’ best game as a blocker, but for the second straight week, he made some big time catches.
Stats: 23/35, 229 yards, 2 TDs, 103.2 passer rating
Stafford’s statline is completely misleading, as he was inaccurate and under duress all game. By Matthew Stafford’s standards, Sunday was a bad game.
So why is he on the Game Ball list this week? The dude was completely hobbled by the end of the fourth quarter and still hung in there. A taped thigh, a taped ankle and a bloodied hand was not enough to keep Stafford out of the game, despite being down 17 with just under nine minutes to go.
Stafford continued to take hits down the stretch and somehow managed to score 14 points in less than six minutes, giving the Lions one more prayer.
Stats: 2 tackles, 1.5 TFLs
Spence didn’t exactly blow up the box score on Sunday, but he was everywhere in the second half. After Haloti Ngata left the game with an elbow injury, Detroit was desperate for some interior defender to step up. Spence did admirably, considering no one else on the defensive line showed up. Spence may not have been credited with a sack against the Panthers, but he certainly brought some pressure.
Stats: 10 tackles (9 solo), 3 TFLs
Tavon Wilson must have had one of the quietest 10 tackle performances of all time. Leading the team with three tackles for loss, Wilson was another big reason Detroit was so dominant against the run on Sunday.
Jarrad Davis and Tavon Wilson are both key run defenders and the Lions defense is much better with them in the lineup.
Which Lions player gets the game ball vs. Panthers?
This poll is closed