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Detroit Lions - Arizona Cardinals: 5 game ball candidates

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Vote on the Lions Week 1 Game Ball winner.

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

By now, you’re probably all tired of hearing about The Timeout, or Kyler Murray’s incredible timeout or Matt Patricia’s failure to keep his foot on the gas.

So let’s take a moment to appreciate the good from Sunday’s game, because—well—there’s was actually a lot of good things to take from the Detroit Lions’ Week 1 tie to the Arizona Cardinals.

Does that mean that bad stuff will magically go away or that the Lions are just fine heading into the gauntlet portion of their schedule? Of course not. But let’s appreciate good individual performances for what they are.

Here are five Game Ball candidates for Week 1.

Matthew Stafford

Stats: 27-of-45 for 385 yards, 3 touchdowns, 110.0 passer rating

Matthew Stafford looked electric in his first game under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Even when his offensive line wasn’t helping him out, Stafford expertly worked the pocket and found open receivers with ease. His touchdown to Danny Amendola was perfection:

Stafford struggled a bit at the beginning and the end, but his performance throughout the game was more than enough to win this game.

T.J. Hockenson

Stats: 6 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD

I don’t need to tell you how good Hockenson’s record-setting debut was, but I will anyways. He was a big-play machine, pulling in four catches of 20+ yards. He laid a couple of huge blocks, like in the Amendola touchdown above.

And, man, he just looks uncoverable out there:

Devon Kennard

Stats: 4 tackles, 3.0 sacks

While his second half was somewhat quiet, Devon Kennard entered the 2019 season like a bat out of hell. His three first-half sacks set a franchise record for a linebacker, and he became the first Lions defender to do so since 1997.

Also, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Kennard took on play-calling duties for this game while Jarrad Davis was out. Here’s what he had to say about the added responsibility:

“I’ve done it once before. It was fine. It’s more but I don’t have a problem with that. I enjoy being able to be out there and help lead the guys and get the stuff out there. I don’t know if there are many guys that do it, playing the position I play, but the more you can do.”

Danny Amendola

Stats: 7 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD

Amendola is going to catch a lot of flack for not getting out of bounds in overtime, but in reality, that didn’t turn out to mean much of anything.

For the rest of the game, Amendola was the one Lions receiver that seemed to create any separation. He looked very much like the player we saw in training camp, and it’s clear he’s starting to develop a level of trust with Matthew Stafford.

Of his seven catches, five of them went for first downs, meaning Amendola could be a key chain-mover this year.

Rashaan Melvin

Stats: 8 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 QB hit

The Lions came into this game with a lot of questions surrounding the cornerback job outside of Darius Slay. Melvin was the clear starter, but after a rough year in Oakland, combined with the fact that Melvin was questionable to even play in this game, there was plenty of doubt in this secondary.

However, Melvin was extremely sticky in coverage all day, and—better yet—was making plays on the ball. That kind of playmaking ability has been sorely missed at cornerback, outside of Darius Slay.

Poll

Who gets the Week 1 Game Ball?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Matthew Stafford
    (221 votes)
  • 74%
    T.J. Hockenson
    (812 votes)
  • 3%
    Devon Kennard
    (35 votes)
  • 0%
    Danny Amendola
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Rashaan Melvin
    (15 votes)
1086 votes total Vote Now