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Detroit Lions Week 16 player of the game: 5 Game Ball candidates vs. Vikings

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Which Lions player deserves Player of the Game honors

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Are you still in the giving mood even though it is no longer Christmas? Well then do I have the opportunity for you!

The Detroit Lions lost on Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings in what was mostly an ugly game. However, let’s give one player the honor of being Player of the Game. As always, I will provide five candidates worthy of at least some recognition, and your vote will decide the winner. Here’s a look at the Game Ball standings through 15 games.

(Note: First place in voting gets three points, second place gets two points, third place gets one point.)

Game Ball standings through Week 15:

Kenny Golladay - 16.5
Damon Harrison Sr. - 14
Kerryon Johnson - 11
Darius Slay - 5.5
Zach Zenner - 5
Quandre Diggs - 4
Devon Kennard - 3
Golden Tate - 3
Da’Shawn Hand - 3
Matthew Stafford - 3
Marvin Jones Jr. - 3
LeGarrette Blount - 3
Frank Ragnow - 2
Michael Roberts - 2
Romeo Okwara - 1
Jarrad Davis - 1
Matt Prater - 1
Sam Martin - 1
Mike Ford - 1
Levine Toilolo - 1

Onto this week’s candidates:

Quandre Diggs:

Stats: 7 tackles (6 solo)

We tend to give a lot of credit to the defensive tackles when it comes to this Detroit Lions run defense, but Quandre Diggs deserves a fair share, too. It seems every single week, Diggs comes crashing into the tackle box and makes a huge, devastating hit. Against the Vikings, he probably made three or four.

Taylor Decker

Stats: PFF grade of 78.8 (90.0 pass blocking)

Much of the reason the Lions’ offense was able to move the ball somewhat effective in the first half (that is, until they were in Vikings territory) was because of the phenomenal pass protection. The leader of that group was left tackle Taylor Decker, who has had an up-and-down season.

This week was his best performance of the season, and I’m sure Matthew Stafford was thankful afterwards, considering the last time these two teams played, Stafford ate the turf 10 times.

Zach Zenner

Stats: 8 carries, 45 yards; 2 catches, 22 yards

Zenner led the team in yards from scrimmage and was easily the most effective runner on Sunday. Zenner continues to run with confidence and decisiveness, which is what this running game requires, since the offensive line is still creating holes.

That being said, Zenner is also creating opportunities of his own. According to Pro Football Focus, Zenner actually had more yards after contact than total rushing yards against the Vikings.

Damon Harrison Sr.

Stats: 5 tackles (3 solo)

Every time the Lions got a stop in the running game, Damon Harrison seemed to have a hand in it, either directly or indirectly. You’d be hard pressed to final a single snap from Harrison in which he was at fault for anything in the running game. He’s constantly listed in these Game Ball posts, but you could make the argument he’s still underappreciated (see: no Pro Bowls).

Sam Martin

Stats: 6 punts, 41.5 avg., 4 inside 20-yard line, 1 inside 5-yard line

Sam Martin has received a lot of criticism since an off-field injury caused him to miss the first half of the 2017 season. Admittedly, he no longer looks like the player that was clearly the second-best punter in the league behind phenom Johnny Hekker, but Sunday’s performance was a nice reminder that he’s still pretty skilled at the position.

His ability to pin the Vikings deep in their own zone early in the game was arguably the reason Detroit was able to put up points in the first half. With quick defensive stands, the Lions’ sputtering offense had excellent field position all throughout the first two quarters—which resulted in minimal effort for three points.

Poll

Which Lions player gets the Week 16 Game Ball?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Quandre Diggs
    (54 votes)
  • 13%
    Taylor Decker
    (26 votes)
  • 29%
    Zach Zenner
    (57 votes)
  • 14%
    Damon Harrison Sr.
    (28 votes)
  • 15%
    Sam Martin
    (30 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now