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5 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Falcons

Who was the Lions’ best player against the Falcons?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday was far from a perfect game for the Detroit Lions. And if the Atlanta Falcons don’t make a costly blunder, we’re all sitting here chatting about doom and gloom and new coaches and blowing everything up all over again.

But we all tend to live on the extremes on Monday morning. Regardless of the final result, the Lions had some really good things they did on Sunday and some not-so-good things, too. By the time the clock hit 0:00, though, there were plenty of Lions players who had established themselves as heroes of the game.

In fact, for the first time all year, I had trouble slimming down this week’s Game Ball candidates to just five. Honorable mentions this week go to Trey Flowers, who had a huge pass breakup on fourth down and recovered a fumble, Danny Shelton, who had five tackles as Detroit stuffed the run yet again, and even Marvin Jones Jr. deserves some credit for Sunday’s win.

Before we jump into this week’s Players of the Game, here are the Game Ball standings through five games.

Editor’s note: First place in voting each week gets three points, second place gets two points, third place gets one point.

Game Ball standings through Week 6:

Jack Fox: 7
D’Andre Swift: 4
Jamie Collins Sr.: 4
Frank Ragnow: 3
Adrian Peterson: 3
T.J. Hockenson: 3
Romeo Okwara: 3
Matt Nelson: 2

Here’s a look at this week’s candidates.

Kenny Golladay

Stats: 6 catches, 114 yards
PFF grade: 90.3

It wasn’t just the amount of yards or big plays that Golladay made in this game. It was how those catches were made. All of them were contested. Many of them resulted in a bit hit taken from a Falcons defender. Yet, Golladay looked as poised and magnificent as ever. Just watch all six of his catches and marvel at each and every one of them.

Matthew Stafford

Stats: 25/36, 340 yards, 1 TD, 108.6 passer rating
PFF grade: 90.3

This was a vintage Matthew Stafford performance in all of the right ways. He navigated the pocket perfectly, threw accurate passes all day, and finally, finally unleashed the deep ball on the Falcons. Just look at all those beautiful green dots:

Romeo Okwara

Stats: 2.0 sacks, 3 QB hits, 1 forced fumble
PFF grade: 89.6

Okwara now leads the team with 4.0 sacks in six games, and he’s already just 3.5 sacks off his career high. Both of his sacks on Matt Ryan were game-changers. The first forced an Atlanta punt just as they were nearing midfield. The second forced a fumble and gave the Lions a second opportunity to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Over the past month, Okwara has made his case as Detroit’s best player on defense.

T.J. Hockenson

Stats: 5 catches, 59 yards, 1 TD
PFF grade: 74.2

We’ll all forgive Hockenson for not getting out of bounds on the final drive of the game because he celebrated National Tight Ends Day with a heck of a game-winning play. Let’s just all marvel at that moment in mic’d-up goodness.

Matt Prater

Stats: 3-of-4 on field goals, 2-of-2 on extra points
PFF grade: N/A

Yes, Matt Prater missed a 46-yard go-ahead field goal midway through the fourth quarter. But literally four minutes later he made a 49-yarder to take the lead. He also hit 51 and 50-yarders earlier in the game. And to top things off, he nailed a 48-yard extra point to seal the deal on Sunday.

I know some may be concerned that Prater has missed four field goals this season, but three of those were from 55 or longer. The dude is still 10-11 from 49 or shorter this year, and he came up huge in this game. He still hasn’t missed an extra point, which is actually more rare than you’d think — only 12 teams don’t have a missed extra point this season.


Who gets the Lions’ Week 7 game ball?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Kenny Golladay
    (801 votes)
  • 48%
    Matthew Stafford
    (1073 votes)
  • 10%
    Romeo Okwara
    (232 votes)
  • 3%
    T.J. Hockenson
    (68 votes)
  • 2%
    Matt Prater
    (55 votes)
2229 votes total Vote Now

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