The Detroit Lions finally won a game, and that means we can hand out a game ball guilt-free this Monday morning.
Detroit got a ton of impressive individual efforts against the Carolina Panthers on their path to a 20-19 victory. Before we get into them, here are the Game Ball standings through 10 weeks of the season. Remember: first place in voting gets three points, second place gets two, and third place gets one.
Game Ball standings through Week 10:
Kenny Golladay - 10.5
Kerryon Johnson - 9
Damon Harrison Sr. - 8
Darius Slay - 3.5
Devon Kennard - 3
Golden Tate - 3
Da’Shawn Hand - 3
Matthew Stafford - 3
Marvin Jones Jr. - 3
Frank Ragnow - 2
Quandre Diggs - 2
Michael Roberts - 2
Romeo Okwara - 1
Matt Prater - 1
Onto this week’s candidates:
Stats: 8 catches, 113 yards, 1 TD
It was a rough start to the game, as Golladay and Matthew Stafford couldn’t seem to get on the same page through the first couple quarters. But when the game was on the line, Golladay was money. In what would become the game-winning drive, Golladay pulled in two fantastic grabs for a combined 55 yards and this beautiful game-winning score:
Stats: 4 tackles, 2 passes defended
It was far from a perfect day in coverage for Slay. In fact, he gave up what would’ve been the game-tying touchdown had the Panthers not gone for the two-point conversion. However, not only was Slay pretty much the only defensive back getting his hand on the ball, but he made what turned out to be a game-changing effort play.
After rookie D.J. Moore wrestled a ball from Mike Ford, he was off to the races. Moore is a sprinter, yet Darius Slay chased him down 80 yards from the line of scrimmage to prevent a touchdown. The Lions’ defense would hold and Graham Gano doinked the field goal off the upright. That’s a 6-point tackle made by Slay (I’m assuming Gano would’ve missed the extra point.)
Stats: 15 rushes, 87 yards, 1 TD; 2 catches, 10 yards
It sucks to see Johnson’s day end with what could be a pretty significant injury, but boy was it fun to watch him run successfully again.
Johnson continues to prove that he’s a threat when the ball is in his hands and had the injury not taken him out in the third quarter, he almost certainly would have had his third 100-yard game of the season. Instead, we saw just how important he was to the team. LeGarrette Blount was completely ineffective in relief (seven rushes, 1 yard) and it nearly got the Panthers back in this game.
Stats: 6 punts, 281 yards (46.8 avg), 3 inside the 10-yard line
Normally, you’d only see a punter in the Game Ball candidates in a horrible, horrible game, but credit where credit is due. Sam Martin played a big part in this victory. Not only did he pin three kicks inside the 10-yard line, but he should have had a fourth and the Panthers had a total of -1 return yards on his six punts.
In what turned out to be a low-scoring affair, field position absolutely had something to do with the Lions’ victory, and Martin deserves some credit for winning that battle.
Stats: 23-of-37 for 220 yards, 1 TD, 87.7 passer rating; 3 rushes, 6 yards
It was far from a banner day for the Lions’ franchise quarterback, but considering his weak set of receivers, Stafford did just about as good as you could expect. He turned Bruce Ellington into a somewhat legitimate slot receiver, and his fourth-quarter game-winning drive was vintage Stafford: A huge third-and-15 conversion, then a beautiful ball to Golladay for the game-winning score.
His stat line would’ve looked a lot better without some drops from his receivers, but it’s amazing how different of a quarterback Stafford looks like when he’s given some time.
Who gets the Lions’ Week 11 Game Ball?
This poll is closed