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5 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Titans

Which Lions player deserves the Game Ball for Sunday?

Detroit Lions v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

As if there was any doubt going into Week 14, the Detroit Lions were proven to be the far inferior team to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. A 46-25 road loss was enough to sink any fraction of playoff hopes remaining and it also sprung a fun, new scandal with our favorite loveable losers.

But in our weekly Game Ball article, we don’t need talk about the team as a whole. We know they are terrible. Instead, let’s celebrate the individual, because according to the infallible Pro Bowl process, the Lions actually have more talented individuals than the Titans:

And while the Lions got whooped on Sunday, there were a handful of players that put up meaningful performances. Before we get into them, here’s a look at the Game Ball standings through 13 games:

Jack Fox: 11
Matthew Stafford: 10
D’Andre Swift: 7
T.J. Hockenson: 7
Taylor Decker: 7
Romeo Okwara: 6
Jamie Collins Sr.: 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
Marvin Jones Jr.: 1

And this week’s candidates:

Matthew Stafford

Stats: 22-of-32 for 252 yards, 1 TD, 102.6 passer rating
PFF grade: 73.7

Whether it’s simply him playing through an extremely painful injury, or his no-look highlights, Stafford’s performance was as legendary as you can get in a 21-point blowout. He both connected on a few deep shots, and skillfully worked the middle of the field.

Since Matt Patricia was fired, Matthew Stafford has been the second best NFL quarterback by PFF grade, and has posted three straight games with a passer rating of 100 or higher.

Romeo Okwara

Stats: 4 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 TFLs, 1 safety
PFF grade: 90.3

Okwara posted PFF’s fourth-highest grade among edge defenders in Week 15, culminating in this beautiful sack/safety that kept the Lions in the game early on. Okwara was credited with three pressures on the day to go with his two tackles for loss and four overall tackles.

While the rest of the defensive line continues to struggle both in pass rush and defending the run, Okwara continues to make a case for a serious payday in March.

Marvin Jones Jr.

Stats: 10 catches (12 targets), 112 yards, 1 TD
PFF grade: 79.3

Marvin Jones Jr. has many fans not missing Kenny Golladay all that much. Sunday was his best performance of the year, hauling in a season-high 10 catches for 112 yards.

Per Football Outsider, Jones was the fourth most valuable wide receiver of Week 15.

“Seven of Jones’ catches produced first downs, including three third-down conversions; he added a 12-yard DPI,” Football Outsiders’ Vincent Verhei wrote.

D’Andre Swift

Stats: 15 rushes, 67 yards (4.5 YPC), 2 TDs; 4 catches, 15 yards
PFF grade: 57.9

While many will choose to primarily remember Swift for his goal-line fumble on Sunday—and rightfully so, it was a particularly costly fumble—the rest of his game was actually quite impressive. It was easy to see how much of a spark he gives the Lions’ rushing attack, and you won’t see a lot of 6-yard touchdown runs as impressive as this:

Two-touchdown performances are impressive, even if it probably should’ve been a three-touchdown day for the rookie.

Austin Bryant

Stats: 7 tackles, 2 TFLs
PFF grade: 70.7

For those looking for positive signs of the future, Bryant’s performance on Sunday was something to build upon. While his pass rushing skills left much to be desired, Bryant has been a pretty decent run defender over the past two weeks. He had two tackles for loss in Sunday’s game against the Titans and he had another decent stop last week against the Packers.



Who gets the Lions’ Week 15 game ball?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Matthew Stafford
    (237 votes)
  • 23%
    Romeo Okwara
    (108 votes)
  • 20%
    Marvin Jones Jr.
    (91 votes)
  • 1%
    D’Andre Swift
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Austin Bryant
    (9 votes)
453 votes total Vote Now

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