After such a devastating loss on national television, no one wants to talk about the positives. I get it. We’re all frustrated that the Detroit Lions’ division title chances are essentially gone.
But there were some positives to take from Thursday’s game and some impressive performances from some Lions players. So let’s hand out a game ball, regardless of the outcome of the game, because that’s what we do every week and we’re not going to let the Vikings spoil that, too.
Here are the standings after Week 11:
Matthew Stafford - 12
Glover Quin - 7
Matt Prater - 7
Darius Slay - 5
Golden Tate - 5
Ezekiel Ansah - 3
Anthony Zettel - 3
Jarrad Davis - 3
A’Shawn Robinson - 3
Jamal Agnew - 3
Marvin Jones Jr. - 3
Darren Fells - 2
Kenny Golladay - 2
Ameer Abdullah - 2
Onto this week’s candidates:
Marvin Jones Jr.
Stats: 6 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs
Let’s be honest: Marvin Jones Jr. is going to rightfully run away with this vote. Lined up against one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Jones had a career day. This was perhaps his best performance in a Lions uniform since last year’s bout in Lambeau in which he caught six passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns. But that week, he didn’t make a play like this:
Marvin Jones Jr. is a stud. Amazing catch for a TD. pic.twitter.com/k0X3IPH8LA— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) November 23, 2017
Stats: 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 blocked PAT
A’Shawn Robinson has become an absolute force on special teams. While the passes defended are down, Robinson has now made a living out of blocking kicks. Thursday marked the first time he has ever batted down an extra point, but he also had a key blocked field goal earlier in the season.
Additionally, Robinson was tough to block on defense. His two TFL were a career-high for him in a single game.
Stats: 4 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1.5 TFLs
Next to Robinson, Spence was just as effective as the second-year player. Spence was consistently finding his way into the backfield and, in tandem with Robinson, both effectively clogged rushing lanes for the majority of the game. Outside of the Vikings’ puzzling four-play, 75-yard drive to open the second half, the Lions only allowed just 1.65 yards per carry. Spence and Robinson had a huge part in that.
Stats: 7 tackles
Also a big part in that run defense was the drastically improved play of rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis.
Davis had recently come under fire for really poor play that had him ranked as the third-worst linebacker in football, per Pro Football Focus. But against the Vikings, Davis rebounded in a huge way. Via PFF:
Davis picked up a season-high five defensive stops and didn’t miss a tackle for the first time in his career.
Davis earned the third-highest PFF grade on the team, with an impressive 85.1 score.
Stats: 3/3 FGs, 2/2 XPs
Prater didn’t have any big kicks in this game, but it’s always important to point out just how automatic he is. Take, for example, his 50-yard field goal to cut the Vikings’ lead from 14 to 11.
On the play prior to the kick, Matthew Stafford was sacked for a huge 5-yard loss, pushing the Lions from the 27-yard line to the 32-yard line. For some kickers, that could be a huge difference. For Prater, those extra five yards were just an opportunity to put a little mustard on a formality kick.
Who deserves the game ball for Lions-Vikings?
This poll is closed
Marvin Jones Jr.