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4 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Browns

Which player deserves the game ball for Sunday?

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last week I started by saying a tie is a tie, so I guess this week is a reminder that a loss is a loss, no matter how deceptively close the box score may be. Hey, at least the DEtroit Lions have a hampered Chicago Bears team on the verge of a regime change coming to town Thursday.

Here are your previous game ball winners from this season:

Week 1 Game Ball winner: Penei Sewell
Week 2 winner: T.J. Hockenson
Week 3 winner: D’Andre Swift
Week 4 winner: Kalif Raymond
Week 5 winner: Tracy Walker
Week 6 winner: Derrick Barnes
Week 7 winner: Dave Fipp
Week 8 winner: T.J. Hockenson
Week 10 winner: D’Andre Swift

Let’s check out this week’s candidates.

D’Andre Swift

Stats: 14 carries, 136 yards, 1 TD; 3 receptions, 0 yards
PFF Grade: 83.1

I’m starting to see a pattern here; could Swift be our first back-to-back winner of the season? After weeks of discourse about Swift’s inability to run between the tackles and his dependence on the passing game, such an idea seemed blasphemous based on his performance Sunday. Swift was shifty and got north on all sorts of runs, carrying a team hampered by their backup quarterback to contention in a game they had no business contending for.

We’ve all seen Swift’s highlight touchdown run, so here’s another solid run from Swift so we can truly appreciate how well his vision was on his carries this game. It was these kinds of runs that got Swift nominated for FedEx ground player of the week for a second straight week.

Penei Sewell

PFF Grade: 81.1

Again, starting to see a trend here. For a rookie, this is certainly a trend you want. Away with the notion that Sewell is better on the left and can’t play the right side. Admittedly a notion I bought into, it was likely just a matter of getting settled in to the speed of the NFL.

Mind you, those statistics have included back-to-back weeks against two extremely talented pass rushers in T.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Sewell is holding his own both in the run game and passing game (aside from a blatant hold he got away with on the D’Andre Swift touchdown run).

Jerry Jacobs

Stats: 2 tackles, 1 pass defended
PFF Grade: 44.8

Admittedly it wasn’t a pretty day for the defense. The box score looks good because Baker Mayfield looked the entire part of the injured man he is. It was a constant barrage of errant passes to wide open receivers for most of the afternoon. Nonetheless, you know I’m always happy to dish out some love for Jerry Jacobs.

Jacobs finished the day giving up just one reception for 7 yards on four targets. It wasn’t his strongest performance in the run game, but it wasn’t for anybody else on the Lions defense, either.

Levi Onwuzurike

Stats: 1 tackle, 1 pass defended, 1 blocked PAT

PFF Grade: 61.8

Levi Onwuzurike has been much quieter this season than we all hoped he would be when the Lions selected him with the 41st overall pick in the draft. Nonetheless, his appearances this season are best described as flashy. You won’t see him rack up many tackles in a single game and some weeks he’ll have a blank stat sheet on limited snaps. Other weeks, like this one, you get literally every facet of defense in a single game.

Onwuzurike’s blocked PAT was critical to keeping the game within a field goal rather than a touchdown for most of the afternoon, and he was able to bat down a pass at the line of scrimmage too. He played less than half of the defensive snaps on the day, but certainly made his presence known.

Time to make your pick for this week’s game ball winner:

Poll

Who gets this week’s Game Ball?

  • 77%
    D’Andre Swift
    (466 votes)
  • 17%
    Penei Sewell
    (107 votes)
  • 1%
    Levi Onwuzurike
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Jerry Jacobs
    (15 votes)
598 votes total Vote Now