clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 candidates for Detroit Lions Week 11 game ball

Vote for which Detroit Lions player you think is most deserving of the Week 11 player of the game award.

Detroit Lions v New York Giants Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Here. We. Go.

After beating the New York Giants 31-18 in Week 11, the Detroit Lions have now strung together three wins in a row and are headed into their annual Thanksgiving game with more wins than they had all of last season.

Let’s take a look at the top Lions players from this game and decide who deserves this week’s game ball.

Aidan Hutchinson

Stats: 3 tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery

Hutchinson was once again an absolute menace for the opposing offense. Not only does he command the attention of quarterbacks and offensive linemen, but he is also dropping into coverage—both designed and via adjusting—and making plays all over the field.

On Hutchinson’s interception—his second on the season—he takes two steps forward to give the impression he is rushing the passer, then bails and drops into the backside passing lane. But being in position alone wasn’t even the best part of the play, as he uses every bit of his length to pluck the ball out of the air.

“That was the play we needed at that moment,” coach Dan Campbell said of Hutchinson’s interception. The Lions were down 6-3 at the time of the interception and it set them up with a short field that led to a touchdown and the lead.

On Hutchinson’s fumble recovery—the first of his career—his hustle was on full display. With his pass rush being stalled, Hutchinson moved to a contain position, and when the ball was thrown, he turned and pursued. After a jarring hit from Will Harris dislodged the football, Hutchinson used his big body to swallow up the loose ball.

Jamaal Williams

Stats: 17 carries, 64 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns

And just like that, Williams is leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns... again.

In his first four seasons with the Packers, Williams had 10 rushing touchdowns. He added another three in his first season in Detroit. After three more touchdowns today, Williams has 12 touchdowns this season, just one short of matching his five-year career total.

“Jamaal Williams is the first player to score multiple rushing touchdowns in at least five of his team’s first 10 games since Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006, when he set the single-season TD record with 31,” per NFL research.

Per the Lions PR department, only four players in Lions history have scored 10 touchdowns in a single season. The Lions single-season rushing touchdown mark (16) is currently owned by Barry Sanders back in 1991. Williams is just four rushing touchdowns away from matching that mark, with seven games remaining.

“He’s our leader. Not just offensively, but our team leader,” running backs coach/assistant head coach Duce Staley said. “He gets a chance to break them down, he talks to them. He’s out there when he’s not feeling well, he still has juice, energy. Going through the drills, I mean he’s everywhere. So, those guys they love him. They love him and they show it out there on the field. They talk to him in the locker room. I mean, it’s just good to see a guy like that, that we got here. This is his second year, being able to build that trust within the team with guys who have been here for a while.”

“His production speaks for itself,” Campbell said of Williams after the game. “And everything you see and know about him is exactly who he is. He’s all heart. He’s emotion, he’s heart, and he’s just a steady, productive, hard-running, hard-working, smart football player.”

Alim McNeill

Stats: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback hits, 6 (at least) pressures

McNeill has steadily been improving over his season and a half, but my goodness did he show out today. Consistently living in the Giants backfield, the FOX broadcast noted that McNeill had six pressures (!) through the first three-quarters of football (official full game stats will likely be released tomorrow).

Officially, he did register three quarterback hits and a “get off the field on third down” sack. On the sack, McNeill uses a two-hand swipe to remove the guard’s arms, and then he uses his quickness to penetrate the middle, bends, grabs, and drags down Daniel Jones.

McNeill led a Lions front that held Saquon Barkley to just 22 yards on 15 carries—a startling 1.5 per rush average—which is less than half of his rushing yards in the lowest-producing game of the season.

“Big Mac man,” Campbell gushed during his post-game presser. “Here’s the thing, there’s so many things that Mac does that I don’t think goes noticed. It can go unnoticed at times, but he and (Isaiah) Buggs—they do a ton of dirty work in there. And they have consistently been, all year for us, just banging away in there and they’ve helped out run defense. It’s hard to run in there with those two guys, and he’s (McNeill) one of the biggest reasons. For him to make the TFLs (tackle for loss) today, and affect the quarterback like he did, that was great to see. Because we know what Mac’s capable of, he just did it a different way today, he helped us win in a different way, that was good to see.”

Kerby Joseph

Stats: 3 tackles, 1 interception

A true ballhawk, Joseph secured his third interception on the season, making him the first Lions rookie to record three interceptions in a season since 2003, per the Lions PR.

“Kerby once again came up big,” Campbell said. “He’s a ball guy, he’s got instincts.”

Campbell isn’t the only one Joseph is making an impression on, as former Lions safety Glover Quin also the rookie’s talent:

Lions offensive line

Stats: Paved the way for 160 rushing yards and 4 rushing TDs, Zero sacks allowed

Picking out individual performances on the offensive line during live games is incredibly difficult, but it’s hard to overlook what the Lions entire unit was able to do against an impressive Giants front—especially considering they had to turn to Dan Skipper at right guard after Evan Brown was injured.

“Jared Goff was blitzed 16 times and took zero sacks in Week 11,” per NFL Next Gen Stats. “It’s the third time in 2022 the Giants have blitzed 15-plus times and collected zero sacks, the most such games in NFL. It was also the second time in 2022 Goff was blitzed more than 50.0% of his dropbacks and taken zero sacks (in Week 9 vs. Green Bay).”

Despite the revolving door at right guard, the Lions remain among the league’s best at the other four spots. In addition to holding up in pass protection, they also paved the way on the ground for 160 yards and four scores.

On the third rushing touchdown, the Lions set up with an unbalanced line, plugging tight end Shane Zylstra in at left tackle and shifting Taylor Decker to the other side of the line, right next to Penei Sewell. To Decker’s right was reserve interior offensive lineman Kayode Awosika and tight end Brock Wright, setting up a clear power run right situation.

“That’s a credit to this offensive line,” Campbell said. “It’s not the easiest thing in the world when you choose to run the ball, and the defense knows you’re going to run the ball—and they probably have an idea where you’re going to run it, when you get that late in the game—and our offensive line finished the game off for us.”

Alright, time to vote, who deserves this week’s game ball?


Who deserves the Lions Week 11 game ball?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Aidan Hutchinson
    (809 votes)
  • 11%
    Jamaal Williams
    (452 votes)
  • 48%
    Alim McNeill
    (1879 votes)
  • 0%
    Kerby Joseph
    (19 votes)
  • 18%
    The offensive line
    (738 votes)
3897 votes total Vote Now

Thanksgiving deal: Save 20% on PODD

What's more Lions than football on Thanksgiving!? To celebrate the holiday, use promo code GOLIONS20 to save 20% on your first year of Pride of Detroit Direct. Sign up today for exclusive game analysis, subscriber-only videos, and much more!