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Unsung Hero of the Week: Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders

Many players shined as the Lions took the field for the first game of the preseason, but whose performance flew under the radar?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time again! With the Detroit Lions’ first preseason game officially over, we start the first of a season-long postgame series: Unsung Hero of the Week. The series will highlight one player whose performance, be it throughout the whole game or in a single moment, played an important role in the Lions’ success but may not have been the most memorable. While there are some games where only so many players shine, the objective is to give credit where it may have been forgotten.

Unsung hero of the week: Leo Koloamatangi, C

Our first winner of this award goes to a player who is on the roster bubble right now and did himself big favors throughout the second half of the game. Koloamatangi is one of five players (himself, Wesley Johnson, Dan Skipper, Corey Robinson and Kenny Wiggins) competing for what currently looks like three openings on the roster for reserve offensive linemen. Going into the week, the Pride of Detroit staff was split even on whether he would be in our out of the 53-man roster in the Week 1 Bubble Watch.

From the first play of the third quarter to the last on Friday night, Koloamatangi was all over the highlight reel right next to the stars carrying the ball. On the first snap of the third quarter’s opening drive, Koloamatangi drove his man about three yards deep into the defense on a run up the middle, almost looking out of place compared to his teammates. Later that drive, he sealed shut the left side of the backfield on Kerryon Johnson’s 57-yard run that was called back for a hold. Take a look (he’s the right guard, No. 75):

Later on in the quarter as the Lions drew up a screen play on third-and-11, Koloamatangi cleared a path for Kerryon Johnson’s 20 yard catch and run despite being the only one within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage to stick to his block.

While there were some ugly mishaps along the offensive line Friday night, Leo Koloamatangi stood out as someone who consistently got the job done. He did a big favor for himself with his performance, and if he keeps it up it won’t belong before his status on the Bubble Watch will be on the inside looking out.

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