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5 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Jaguars

Who should get the Lions’ game ball after their 34-16 win over the Jags?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time all season, the Detroit Lions have more than a handful of players worthy of Game Ball consideration. The Lions took it to the Jacksonville Jaguars from start to finish, and their performance was highlighted by playmakers on both sides of the ball. This was easily the team’s best all-around performance, and while the strength of opponent likely had something to do with that, it was still hopeful to see.

Before we get into this week’s candidates for Player of the Game, here are our Game Ball standings through Detroit’s first four games. As a reminder, first place in Game Ball voting gets three points, second place gets two points, third place gets one vote.

Game Ball standings through Week 5:

Jack Fox: 7
Jamie Collins Sr.: 3
Frank Ragnow: 3
Adrian Peterson: 3
T.J. Hockenson: 3
Romeo Okwara: 3
D’Andre Swift: 1

Now onto this week’s candidates.

D’Andre Swift

Stats: 14 rushes, 116 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 7 yards
PFF grade: 72.0

Swift was considered the star of the game and for good reason. 100-yard rushers don’t come along very often in Detroit, and when you reach the end zone twice in the game, you please the fantasy football owners, too.

But narratives aside, Swift’s running—especially in the second half (8 rushes, 52 yards)—allowed the Lions to comfortably hold their lead for the entirety of the game. We’ve all been waiting for the Lions to unleash Swift, and it appears he was worth the wait, as the rookie running back was decisive, quick and physical running the ball against the Jaguars.

Kenny Golladay

Stats: 4 catches, 105 yards
PFF grade: 71.9

Golladay may have had a drop in this game, but he also did this, and this alone is worthy of Game Ball consideration:

Jamie Collins Sr.

Stats: 7 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 QB hit
PFF grade: 89.8

This was another example of “Good Jamie Collins.” You can see the kind of impact he has on this entire defense, because when he plays well, everything seems to hum along. He played well against the Cardinals, the Lions defense looks passable. He played extraordinarily well against the Jaguars, and suddenly this is an entirely different run defense.

Not only was he huge in stopping the run, but he continues to be Detroit’s best coverage linebacker (85.7 PFF coverage game in Week 6) with no other player even in a close second. Collins nearly had his second pick of the season late in the game.

Trey Flowers

Stats: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
PFF Grade: 92.0

Flowers hasn’t been bad this season, but he has been unusually quiet, leading many to wonder if Detroit overpaid for an above-average player. The knock had been that Flowers is solid, but he’s not the type to make game-changing plays.

On Sunday, however, he made one of the most pivotal plays of the game. The Jaguars were threatening to turn a 17-3 game into a one-score contest late in the first half. Going into the locker room up just 17-10 would’ve been a massive disappointment for the Lions given how well they played in the first two quarters. But Flowers’ strip sack got the ball back in the offense’s hands and nearly helped the Lions extend their lead.

Matt Nelson

Stats: Offensive linemen don’t get stats
PFF grade: 59.1

If we were just going with top performers here, I probably should’ve put Frank Ragnow, as he was again dominant as a run blocker and a huge reason why Detroit was able to put up 180 rushing yards on the day.

But we have to give Matt Nelson some love for coming off the bench and putting in a solid effort despite seeing his first ever playing time at right tackle. His play was far from perfect—PFF credited him with two QB hits allowed—but he didn’t allow a sack and didn’t look like a liability out there. For his first real playing time in the NFL, he has to get some love for that performance.

Poll

Who gets the Lions’ Week 6 game ball?

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    D’Andre Swift
    (874 votes)
  • 1%
    Kenny Golladay
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    Trey Flowers
    (55 votes)
  • 8%
    Jamie Collins Sr.
    (92 votes)
  • 8%
    Matt Nelson
    (102 votes)
1145 votes total Vote Now