Sunday was an odd game for the Detroit Lions. While it didn’t appear the Lions had really any standout performers against the Green Bay Packers, they managed to hang around them for really all four quarters. In a way, it’s a perfect example of where this team currently is at. There aren’t a lot of standout individuals currently healthy, but right now interim head coach Darrell Bevell has them playing competitively as a unit.
That all being said, there were some individual performances—or at least individual plays—worthy of some praise. So as we do following every Lions game, let’s look at this week’s Game Ball candidates.
But before we do, let’s look at the Game Ball standings after 12 games.
Note: First place in our weekly Game Ball voting gets three points, second place gets two points, third place gets one point.
Jack Fox: 11
Matthew Stafford: 7
D’Andre Swift: 7
T.J. Hockenson: 7
Romeo Okwara: 6
Jamie Collins Sr.: 5
Taylor Decker: 5
Adrian Peterson: 4
Frank Ragnow: 4
Marvin Hall: 3
Amani Oruwariye: 3
Matt Prater: 2
Austin Bryant: 2
Kenny Golladay: 2
Matt Nelson: 2
Desmond Trufant: 1
Here’s a look at this week’s candidates.
Stats: 24-of-34, 244 yards, 2 TD, 100.6 passer rating
PFF grade: 89.6
Without Kenny Golladay or any run game to speak of, Matthew Stafford was going toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers for basically three-and-a-half quarters. Stafford spread the ball evenly throughout his receiving corps, was extremely accurate (completed 4% of his passes above expectation), and even though it turned out to be reckless, there’s something endearing about your quarterback putting his body on the line in a 14-point game with only distant playoff dreams on the line.
It was a gutsy performance, but like most of Stafford’s career, it went underappreciated and unrewarded.
Stats: 0 pressures allowed
PFF grade: 86.8
Za’Darius Smith, who came into this game tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, left Sunday with zero tackles, zero quarterback hits and just a single pass defended to his name.
Decker is having an elite year protecting Stafford’s blind side, and to see him do that months after getting paid is extremely promising for his future.
Stats: 2 tackles, 1 pass defended
PFF grade: 72.5
With the Lions desperately needing some sign of life from their injury-depleted secondary, Mike Ford gets some post-game honors simply for this play and this play alone.
Ball is under thrown and it saves Mike Ford. Way to get a hand in there pic.twitter.com/IznyT5UkiJ— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) December 14, 2020
Though he was initially beat by Davante Adams, Ford does a great job of not giving up on the play, gaining back that ground, and then he makes a phenomenal play on the ball that nearly led to a tip-drill interception for Duron Harmon.
Marvin Jones Jr.
5 catches, 82 yards 4 catches, 48 yards
PFF grade: 62.4
Sorry, but I’m going to give credit for Marvin Jones’ catch, even if the NFL is not. This was the most impressive play of the entire game, and maybe of the entire week of the NFL. Let’s give Jones some props for perfect tracking of the ball, amazing body control, and extreme composure in tight circles. It was a fantastic play worthy of praise, even if the refs didn’t give this one to him.
Stats: 1 rush, 11 yards; 1 catch, 4 yards; 71-yard kick return
Just as it looked like Mason Crosby’s 57-yard field goal put the game out of reach for Detroit, Jamal Agnew’s big kickoff return gave the Lions one last flicker of life.
Who gets the Week 14 Game Ball?
This poll is closed
Marvin Jones Jr.