The Detroit Lions finished their 2020 season strong... well, strong relative to the rest of the season. Their 37-35 loss to the Minnesota Vikings showed everything that was right about the Lions (mainly: their offense and special teams) and everything that was wrong (dear lord, the defense is awful).
But for now, let’s focus on the positives. As always, there were some good individual performances on Sunday, and we take this one article a week to honor those people with our Game Ball.
All season, we have run post-game polls to see who you believed to be the player of the game. First place in voting received three “Game Ball” points, second place received two points. Third place received one point.
Through 15 games, here’s where are Game Ball standings stand:
Matthew Stafford: 13
Jack Fox: 13
Romeo Okwara: 9
D’Andre Swift: 7
T.J. Hockenson: 7
Taylor Decker: 7
Jamie Collins Sr.: 5
Adrian Peterson: 4
Frank Ragnow: 4
Marvin Hall: 3
Amani Oruwariye: 3
Jamal Agnew: 3
Marvin Jones Jr.: 2
Matt Prater: 2
Austin Bryant: 2
Kenny Golladay: 2
Matt Nelson: 2
Desmond Trufant: 1
Here are this week’s candidates:
Stats: 20-of-31, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 114.0 passer rating
PFF grade: 72.9
All game, Stafford was dropping dimes like this:
You can't throw a 7 ball better than this— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) January 5, 2021
What a bomb by Stafford pic.twitter.com/Bz5e0e7S2y
Sometimes I feel like we take throws like this for granted.
Stafford completed 64.5 percent of his passes, 3.9 percent above expectation per NextGenStats. Meanwhile, his QBR of 84.4 was seventh best of the week. Add in a couple first downs with his legs, and it was a memorable Stafford performance, especially taking into account the numerous injuries.
Marvin Jones Jr.
Stats: 8 catches, 180 yards, 2 TDs
PFF grade: 90.0
Marvin Jones’ Week 17 performance was enough to land him on the PFF Team of the Week. His 180 receiving yards was the most of any player this week, and had he not been victimized by yet another terrible officiating snafu, he would have crossed over the 200-yard mark for the just second time in his career.
If that’s the way Jones’ Lions career ends, it was quite a show.
Stats: 1 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 QB hits
PFF grade: 73.2
Against the Vikings, Okwara did what he has always done: quietly pressure the quarterback and pick up a sack. He finishes the 2020 season with 10.0 sacks, just enough to crack into the top-10 overall.
Stats: 13 tackles,
2 1 sack
PFF grade: 56.1
Tracy Walker had two sacks in this game. I don’t care that the box score says one. I don’t care that he was credited with a penalty that extended a drive on a fourth-and-1.
Walker had two sacks in a single game for the first time in his career and he had a gigantic fourth-down stop that should have potentially put the Lions in a position to win Sunday’s game.
Prior to the Vikings game, Walker said he promised to play better in 2021. He’s already off to a good start.
Stats: 1-for-1 on FGs, 2-for-3 extra points
Yeah, he missed an extra point. And, yeah, if he had made that extra point, we may be looking at a tie game late, instead of a couple of failed two-point conversions.
But the man booted a 54-yarder with room to spare and set an NFL record for successful kicks of 50 yards or longer. That has to count for something.
Who gets the Lions’ Week 17 game ball?
This poll is closed
Marvin Jones Jr.