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Unsung hero of the week: Playing through the whistle

This player had one tackle and one 15-yard penalty to show for the entire game Sunday, but his hustle earns him this week’s honors.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There wasn’t a lot to like about the Detroit Lions on Sunday as they got manhandled by the Dallas Cowboys. Don’t let the final score fool you, the Cowboys had Detroit’s number all afternoon. The defense held Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense to 10 points through three quarters, and Ezekiel Elliott shredded the Lions defense both on the ground and through the air to the tune of 240 all-purpose yards. But another week, another unsung hero of the week. While the offense was unable to finish drives, the defense seemed to be absent for entire drives at a time. Nonetheless, today’s award goes to a defensive player.

Unsung hero of the week: Romeo Okwara

Okwara doesn’t have much to show for on the stat sheet. He had one tackle on the day, in addition to one sack that was negated by a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. That penalty, however, is exactly what earned him today’s honors.

Late in the first half, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was facing pressure from the Lions defensive line in the pocket and spun out of traffic in a Russell Wilson-esque move. In the process, Prescott lost his footing and his knee grazed the ground, but he stood back up immediately as though nothing had happened. No whistles were blown, and a second later Romeo Okwara gave him a shove that landed Prescott on the ground—not wrapping him up, not driving him into the ground, not putting body weight on the quarterback; a clean sack, right?

Wrong. No whistles were blown and Okwara was simply playing through the whistle in a totally clean way, but Walt Coleman and his crew were not having it and called Okawara for unnecessary roughness.

That’s the biggest mark Okwara had on the game, but it seemed worthy of giving him this week’s honors. He showed up when it mattered most, sacking Prescott in a late-half drive as the Cowboys were sniffing field goal range, and was quite questionably called for a penalty for it. It was good hustle on his part for playing through the whistle and getting a very important sack given the context of where they were in the game.

Whose performance caught your eye Sunday? Let us know in the comments.

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