In the game, Melifonwu tallied five tackles, 2.0 sacks, two passes defended, and—most importantly—the game-sealing interception that delivered the first NFC North crown to Detroit and their first division title in 30 years. Melifonwu was so good on Sunday that the Lions put together a full compilation of his highlights from the game:
Melifonwu has only been in the starting safety role for the past three weeks, stepping in for Tracy Walker, who was struggling. The plan was to start Melifonwu earlier in the year, but injuries had gotten in the way. Now that he’s seeing the field regularly, Lions coaches have been raving about how he has performed.
“Just another outstanding performance,” coach Dan Campbell said after the Vikings game. “Here we go, man. Week two of this, and he’s not just out there playing football, solid performance. He’s a factor. He’s a factor. He’s just getting better and better. He’s instinctive. You see the athletic ability. He plays physically. He’s just getting better and better.”
In his three starts, Melifonwu has 18 tackles, 3.0 sacks, four QB hits, four passes defended, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Melifonwu became the second Lions player to win Defensive Player of the Week honors this year, with Aidan Hutchinson’s two-sack performance against the Atlanta Falcons also earning the nod back in Week 3.
Have a week, Iffy.