There are 17 weeks in an NFL season, and right now nobody’s sure if that’s a good or bad thing for Detroit Lions fans. Regardless of outcome, it’s time to hand out this week’s award for unsung hero of the week. The series highlights 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.
Unsung hero of the week: Sam Martin
Hear me out here—I know the image of Martin’s failed tackle on Andre Roberts is burned into your memory, but just wait.
When it came to punting Martin had a solid day, and frankly just not screwing up is enough to earn him this week’s honors. Martin averaged 50.7 yards on three punts with a long of 55 yards to go with manageable hang times in the 4.4-4.7 second range.
He did his job when it came to punting, but like many facets of this team the preseason struggles made a reappearance, this time in punt coverage. Tavon Wilson saved one punt return from a touchdown by taking down former Lion Andre Roberts in field goal range. The next punt coverage play wouldn’t be so lucky, as Roberts tiptoed the sideline for a 78-yard return touchdown.
As for tackling, it’s obviously not Martin’s forte. On the punt that was returned for a touchdown Martin made a valiant effort to lead Roberts out of bounds. While the results weren’t there, it’s worth noting that Martin’s attempt was much closer to success than the typical tackling attempts of NFL specialists. Martin’s true heroism came on the punt before, where he managed to impede Roberts just long enough for Tavon Wilson to come in and make the tackle.
While the outcome of the next punt and just about the rest of the game was horrendous, Martin’s spirited efforts delayed the inevitable for just a little longer.
There’s not much to celebrate, and Martin’s solid punting and suboptimal tackling are the closest thing to an unsung hero that the Lions had this week.
Whose decent performance do you think went unnoticed? Let us know in the comments.