The Detroit Lions’ hot streak continues to roll on. The Lions entered Week 14 favored over the division-leading Minnesota Vikings and turned up the heat, walking away with yet another win, their fifth in the last six games.
Sunday’s 34-23 win was a culmination of aggressive play calling, player execution, and finding a way to bury their opponent when the game was on the line.
Let’s take a look at the players eligible for this week’s game ball.
Stats: 27 of 39, 330 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and a 120.7 passer rating
In our weekly SB Nation Reacts poll, 66% of fans believed Goff was the Lions quarterback of the future, and after this game, it’s fair to wonder if that number would go up.
Despite not having a 100-yard receiver, Goff still managed over 300 yards passing and connected on not one, but two 40+ yard touchdown passes. The first was an easy rip to a wide-open Jameson Williams, but the second one was a much more challenging pass down the sideline to DJ Chark.
.@JaredGoff16 dialing up another deep one!#MINvsDET | FOX | #ProBowlVote | @DJChark82 pic.twitter.com/d58UP6Dt3I— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 11, 2022
Goff’s third touchdown pass of the game was a silky smooth fake toss, turn and throw to an in-cutting Josh Reynolds, that put the Lions up 21-7 late in the third quarter.
But as has happened more and more frequently of late, Goff saved his best for the end of the game, looking strong and composed on the Lions final two drives.
Up 12 with just over 10 minutes left to play, the Lions converted three first down—two on the arm of Goff—ran over six and a half minutes off the clock and kicked a field goal to go up 15 points. After a Vikings score, the Lions got the ball again, and when faced with a third-and-7, Goff made his best throw of the day to...
Stats: 1 reception, 9 yards
He. Can. Do. Everything.
#Lions Penei Sewell with the third down CATCH and conversion pic.twitter.com/jTkrWmxnFj— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) December 11, 2022
When asked how he would describe the above play, Sewell simply replied with a smile: “Good execution”.
When asked what he did with the football, Sewell replied that he didn’t know, and frankly didn't care too much because it wasn’t a touchdown and that his plan was to save that one, because “it’s gonna happen.”
Stats: 1 catch, 41 yards, 1 touchdown
Williams’ first NFL catch will be a memorable one. After running the seam, the corner passed Williams off to the safety, who was in the process of pinching down on the crossing receiver, leaving the speedy rookie all by himself.
#Lions Jameson Williams first career reception goes for a 41 yard touchdown. pic.twitter.com/5YJ0ZmZoUd— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) December 11, 2022
The Lions needed to get the early lead to control the game in this matchup and the rookie delivered in a big way.
Stat line: 1 tackle, 1 sack, 3 quarterback hits, 1 forced fumble (first of his career)
One of the more underrated players on this defense, Buggs was a problem for the Vikings all day. When the Vikings tried to get tricky with a halfback pass at the goal line, Buggs burst through the line and smashed Dalvin Cook, jarring loose the fumble.
.@BigPooh_91 forced the fumble and @JKERB25 came up with the recovery!#MINvsDET | FOX | #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/Xmdwv0mkP1— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 11, 2022
Here’s another play where Aidan Hutchinson gets the sack, but keep your eyes in the middle of the line where Bugg just obliterates the right guard:
The Wolverine got him!#MINvsDET | FOX | #ProBowlVote | @aidanhutch97 pic.twitter.com/2qhCCmIxfJ— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 11, 2022
Buggs has been a team leader during the Lions’ winning streak and has quietly been growing as a player on the field. He was also a big reason the Lions bottled up Cook for just 23 yards on 15 carries.
Stats: 1 run, 42 rushing yards (team-leading), 1 tackle
Moore has legit 4.3 speed, but he seemed to take it up another level when the Lions called yet another fake punt. The Lions direct snapped it to him and asked him to get a tough first down on fourth-and-7.
It's a fake for the first down!#MINvsDET | FOX pic.twitter.com/WSOKmbnt2d— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 11, 2022
“(Jason) Cabinda gave a great kickout block on the corner who saw the play coming before we really even got started,” Moore said while breaking down the play. “(Malcolm Rodriguez) Rodrigo leading up and everybody just kind of doing what they’ve got to do and executing so we can kick the ball up and get vertical.”
Alright, time to vote:
5 candidates for the Lions Week 14 Game Ball
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