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5 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Falcons

Which Lions player deserves the Game Ball for Friday?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s so good to have Detroit Lions football back, even if it’s just preseason. It’s especially good when the Lions do well. Although they fell short in the fourth quarter, there was plenty of entertainment to be had and lots of great performances to choose from in this week’s game ball.

Tom Kennedy

Stats: 8 receptions, 104 yards

Mr. Preseason™ is back at it again. Tom Kennedy has been a training camp favorite for many offseasons now, and what was easily his best preseason debut yet has unfortunately come at a time when the Lions’ receivers room is very crowded.

Nonetheless, a 100-yard receiving game is impressive for any wide receiver. Doing so in roughly half of a game is even more impressive. One game isn’t going to be enough to make or break his offseason, but it surely puts Kennedy on track to get better looks over the next two games. At that point, it’ll be up to him to continue to make his case for the 53-man roster.

Devin Funchess

Stats: 4 receptions, 19 yards, 1 TD, 1 hurdle

Speaking of receivers who are fighting from the outside looking in, Devin Funchess also arrived to Ford Field on a mission Friday night. The stats are not nearly as flashy as Kennedy’s but the circumstances under which Funchess posted those stats certainly were.

Funchess was (uncharacteristically) sure-handed Friday night, first making this impressive touchdown catch in the back corner of the endzone.

Funchess would follow that up with a reminder that he’s a tight end by hurdling a defender for a few extra yards.

The Lions don’t need another receiving tight end, nor do they need to crowd the receiver room any more. Funchess is making his case nonetheless, if not for the Lions, then for every other team.

Aidan Hutchinson

Stats: 2 tackles (one for loss)

Hutch played very briefly like the rest of the starters, but he made his presence known in the meantime. Regardless of whether Hutchinson played well or not, folks would quickly discount either scenario due to it being preseason. In my eyes, however, it was crucial that Hutchinson give us something to enjoy, and give us something he did.

Any time a rookie is drafted high, expectations are equally high, whether it’s warranted or not. First impressions matter, and Hutchinson making a flash play to start buys him time to be a rookie and make mistakes without alienating the fanbase. That’s a huge win for him, and the talent he displayed tonight is a huge win for the Lions.

Malcolm Rodriguez

Stats: 2 tackles

Malcolm Rodriguez got playing time a lot earlier than expected Friday night, and that started with a stellar debut on special teams.

Rodriguez followed that up by getting a start on defense, something that definitely came as a surprise for the sixth-round draft pick. There’s a lot of hype around Rodriguez coming from training camp, evidently not just for his dancing skills.

D’Andre Swift

Stats: 4 rushes, 20 yards, 1 TR

Like almost everyone else tonight, Swift’s success was based on a limited sample size. However, for a guy whose entire career has been a small sample size due to injuries, we’ll take it. Swift looked smooth, sturdy, and powerful on Friday night; dare I say he looked like an RB1.

It’s a productive start for a guy who has a lot of outstanding concerns, the biggest of which being his durability. Having a productive night and ending it in full health is a win for Swift and a win for the Lions.

Who’s your pick for this week’s game ball winner? Make your pick in the poll below:


Who gets the Lions’ game ball against the Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Tom Kennedy
    (1421 votes)
  • 6%
    Devin Funchess
    (133 votes)
  • 9%
    Aidan Hutchinson
    (178 votes)
  • 5%
    Malcolm Rodriguez
    (104 votes)
  • 5%
    D’Andre Swift
    (106 votes)
1942 votes total Vote Now

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