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Detroit Lions Week 4 player of the game: 5 game ball candidates vs. Saints

A look at the best performances from Sunday.

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was another rough team performance from the Detroit Lions in Week 4. While the final score of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints shows a mere six-point game, it was clear who was the better team at Ford Field that day.

Detroit’s defense just couldn’t get a stop. Detroit’s offense could not keep the momentum of a hot start. And before you knew it, the Lions turned a 14-point lead into a 21-point deficit in the blink of an eye.

But it wasn’t all bad for Detroit. There were a handful of players that showed some serious promise in Week 4. It may not be enough to have serious optimisim in this team going forward, but right now we’re looking for building blocks of the future, and there may be a few here.

Before we jump into this week’s Game Ball candidates, here’s a look at the standings through three games.

Game Ball standings after Week 3:

Jack Fox: 5
Jamie Collins Sr.: 3
Frank Ragnow: 3
Adrian Peterson: 3
T.J. Hockenson: 3

Here are this week’s candidates:

D’Andre Swift

Stats: 4 rushes, 22 yards; 4 catches, 30 yards, 1 TD
PFF grade: 70.6

After playing just seven snaps last week against the Cardinals, the Lions tried to make Swift a bigger part of the game plan against the Saints. Though he only had eight touches on the day, the rookie running back turned those opportunities into 52 yards and a score. His touchdown catch was a nice display of how big of a matchup problem he can be against linebackers in coverage:

Romeo Okwara

Stats: 3 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 3 QB hits
PFF grade: 65.0

The Lions front seven has been a major concern all season—and for that matter, all of Matt Patricia’s reign—but if there’s one player that finally seems to be clicking under this defense, it’s Romeo Okwara. The 25-year-old defensive end picked up six of the team’s nine quarterback pressures according to PFF and turned that into three quarterback hits.

He had one sack on the day and would’ve had another had Drew Brees not slipped from his grasp, but on a defense that hasn’t been forcing the issue with opposing quarterbacks, the defender who’s causing the most disruption sticks out.

Kenny Golladay

Stats: 4 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
PFF grade: 71.5

Two games, two touchdowns. The Lions star wide receiver is picking up where he left off last season. And while four catches and 62 yards isn’t exactly the kind of performance you’re hoping for against a beat-up Saints secondary, it’s clear that Golladay will continue to be a favorite target of Matthew Stafford in the red zone... and for good reason.

Tracy Walker

Stats: 6 tackles
PFF grade: 73.9

While it was anything but a banner day for the Lions defense, the one thing they did do against the Saints was prevent any big plays. New Orleans’ biggest play from scrimmage was just 29 yards, and the play of the Lions’ safeties has a lot to do with that.

Walker, too, was solid in coverage on Sunday. Per PFF, he allowed just 8 yards on two targets. Throw in six tackles on the day, and that qualifies as a solid performance on this defense right now.

Jack Fox

Stats: 4 punts, 218 yards (54.5 average), 1 inside 20
PFF grade: 69.3

I had to throw him in for a fourth straight game. It wasn’t Fox’s best day, but his overall punting average actually increased after this game (currently at 53.4). However, he only pinned one inside the 20 on Sunday, and his net average dropped after Detroit’s coverage unit allowed 33 punt return yards.

Poll

Who gets the Lions’ Week 4 game ball?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    D’Andre Swift
    (104 votes)
  • 35%
    Romeo Okwara
    (198 votes)
  • 8%
    Kenny Golladay
    (47 votes)
  • 8%
    Tracy Walker
    (49 votes)
  • 29%
    Jack Fox
    (167 votes)
565 votes total Vote Now