The Detroit Lions finally got their first win of the season on Sunday, and that means we actually have worthwhile individual performances to acknowledge this week.
While the Lions themselves gave the game ball to head coach Matt Patricia—watch that awesome moment here, if you haven’t already—it’s up to us to hand it out to a deserving player.
Before we get into this week’s candidates vs. the New England Patriots, here are the Game Ball standing through two games.
[Reminder: 1st place in voting gets 3 points, 2nd place gets 2, 3rd place gets 1]
Game Ball standings through Week 2:
Kenny Golladay - 6
Devon Kennard - 3
Quandre Diggs - 2
Da’Shawn Hand - 1
Onto Week 3:
Stats: 16 rushes, 101 yards (6.3 YPC), 2 catches, 9 yards
You have to kick off this week’s Game Ball with the man who is responsible for making sure we never see that stupid car graphic from the “Monday Night Football” crew ever again.
Johnson was electric in his limited carries and the deeper you dive into his Sunday performance, the better it looks.
This game was about so much more than Johnson eclipsing 100 yards rushing. He looked like the entire package, capable of finding small holes, breaking arm tackles, and using his lateral quickness to get to the second level in an instant.
Stats: 0 pressures allowed, PFF grade: 82.5
Of course, Johnson’s unforgettable night probably doesn’t happen without the players in front of him. The Lions’ offensive line finally lived up to their hype and first-round rookie Frank Ragnow was the belle of the ball.
After an extremely rough outing in his first two NFL games, Ragnow rebounded and became the guy we saw he was capable of being during training camp and the preseason. His combo blocks with Graham Glasgow were creating holes the likes of which I could run through.
Stats: 27/36 for 262 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT (101.9 passer rating)
Speaking of bounceback games, the Lions’ franchise quarterback finally looked like his old self on Sunday night. Stafford was more comfortable in the pocket, was working the “Turkey Hole,” and even hit on a big play to Marvin Jones Jr.
We’ve long wondered what Matthew Stafford looks like with a running game, and we finally got a look at it on Sunday night. Turns out it’s just about as good as we were hoping.
Stats: 0 completions allowed, 1 INT
It’s a shame we had to wait this long to talk about the defense, because they were phenomenal on Sunday night. However, there weren’t a lot of standout, individual performances—the unit just worked so well together.
If anyone qualifies, though, it’s cornerback Darius Slay, who wasn’t even expected to be available this game. Slay was back to his usual shutdown self against Tom Brady, as he didn’t allow a single completion in his direction and even notched an interception, too. Even Slay was surprised at how well his team completely neutralized the GOAT.
Stats: 2 tackles (1 for loss)
The Lions shocked a lot of people when they dropped their inactive list for Sunday night. No Ezekiel Ansah. No Kerry Hyder.
As a result, the Lions had just two true defensive ends active against the Patriots: Da’Shawn Hand and Romeo Okwara.
Okwara’s box score may not be that impressive, but the Lions relied on the defensive end—added just two weeks ago—on over 83 percent of snaps, and he responded quite nicely.
The stretch run plays that were so effective by the 49ers last week were completely stymied thanks, in part, to Okwara setting the edge and forcing the rushers back inside, and this may be the best play a Lions defensive lineman has made all season:
I'll be honest, Anthony Zettel isn't making this tackle. Romeo Okwara does a great job getting to flats. pic.twitter.com/DP7TV1GMNa— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) September 25, 2018
Who gets the Lions’ Week 3 Game Ball?
This poll is closed