clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 Detroit Lions game ball candidates vs. Carolina Panthers

Who’s getting the special pigskin to close out the preseason?

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In what used to be considered the “dress rehearsal”, Game 3 of the preseason is not quite what it used to be. With the reduced preseason schedule and emphasis added to joint team practices, gone are the days of starters playing the first half of this game. More emphasis is given to key backups and players looking to make the final 53-man roster. We saw plenty of that with the Detroit Lions in their 26-17 win against the Carolina Panthers. Let’s dive into who made the most of the moment and became game ball candidates.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB

What a difference a week makes, especially when that week (technically 6 days) represents close to 33% of your time with the squad. Rust aside, Bridgewater was lackluster against Jacksonville for Week 2. This week he was clearly more comfortable with his new team as he looked much sharper and more poised. He even looked like an NFL quarterback instead of a linebacker by changing his jersey number from 50 to 17. He wasn’t perfect, but that’s not the expectation for anyone, much less our backup. He finished the night throwing 13/22 passing for 178 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions. He led the team to 20 first-half points and likely gave anyone worried about him a sigh of relief.

Antoine Green, WR

Up until the closing minute of the first half, it looked like this candidacy was going to go to Dylan Drummond who had a solid game himself. However, a 70-yard house call will change things up just as fast as Green ran in his reception from Teddy B. The Lions’ depth at WR isn’t horrible, but there is definitely an opening that players like Green can make a case to grab. He finished the night with 3 catches for 97 yards and a TD. He also displayed the vaunted “positional versatility” by adding a nice 32-yard kick return. The position of kick returner still seems to be wide open. Kudos to Green for contributing in two areas of need during the game.

Chase Lucas, CB

Don’t you.. forget about me!” We have no official confirmation on if Chase sang this tune after a few key plays but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Between the key additions to the secondary and the highlighting of some UDFA defensive backs, Lucas has probably become the forgotten man to many. He did something about that tonight. First was his BEAUTIFUL diving interception in the end zone that was probably the play of the game (or at least runner up). He followed that up with a nice pass break up in the 3rd quarter. He still has an uphill battle to make the roster but he also contributes on special teams and is someone head coach Dan Campbell has been rooting for.

Steven Gilmore, CB

Just in case anyone (ahem.. Chase Lucas) was making ground on him, Steven Gilmore did everything he could to put that to rest. His shining moment was a sensational two play sequence where he had a pass break up on 2nd and 21 and then a pick-6 interception the very next play. He was active all night and continues to make it hard to keep him off the 53-man roster. He seems to be close to a lock to at least be on the practice squad but Gilmore is playing like he wants more than that.

James Houston, Edge

We heard you loud and clear. Any notion of Houston’s security on this team will not be tolerated by the Pride of Detroit faithful. To be honest, for as subpar as Houston has looked during practices, he’s completely redeemed himself during the actual games, getting after the quarterback in the same fashion as his stellar rookie season. He tallied another 1.5 sacks, still displaying that crazy bend that’s so hard to block. Whether he “rounds out his game’ to a greater degree or not, he fills a vital role that will pay dividends for the squad.

So there you have it, now it’s time for you to make the tough decision. Check out the poll below and vote for who you think should get the game ball.


Who gets the Lions’ game ball against the Panthers?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Teddy Bridgewater
    (307 votes)
  • 13%
    Antoine Green
    (236 votes)
  • 10%
    Chase Lucas
    (184 votes)
  • 48%
    Steven Gilmore
    (816 votes)
  • 7%
    James Houston
    (122 votes)
  • 1%
    Others (share in comments)
    (22 votes)
1687 votes total Vote Now

NEW: Join Pride of Detroit Direct

Jeremy Reisman will drop into your inbox twice a week to provide exclusive, in-depth reporting and insights from Ford Field. Subscribe to go deeper into Lions fandom, and join us on our path to win the Super Bowl.