Detroit Lions Game Ball Week 11: Darius Slay


Darius Slay continues to dominate the opposition and has earned the Detroit Lions Game Ball for the Week 11 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Don’t look now but the Detroit Lions are on a win streak after beating the Oakland Raiders 18-13. For the second week in a row the Lions buckled down when the game was on the line and found a way to win. In a game that featured two teams with top ten passing offenses, it was quality play from the Lions defense that proved to be the difference.

Typically the Game Ball will go to a player with excellent stats. But it’s the lack stats allowed that shows how Darius Slay is dominating the competition. Slay has allowed only one catch in the last eight quarters of football. Michael Crabtree caught an eight yard curl in front of Slay when the Lions were in zone coverage. Slay made the tackle and that was all he would allow on the day.

The majority of Slay’s day was spent shadowing rookie sensation Amari Cooper. Cooper, who averages five and a half receptions for 81 yards a game, was completely taken out of the game by Slay. Cooper couldn’t shake Slay’s suffocating coverage. His lone catch for four yards came when they lined Cooper up in the slot in an attempt to get him away from Slay.

This is the second week in a row that Slay has managed to completely shut down a top wide receiver. Slay struggled through the first half of the season, but he has regained his swagger in a major way. If he manages to keep up this level of play, he will have earned back his nickname of “Big Play” Slay.

Others Lions who considered for this weeks Game Ball:

Ezekiel Ansah finds himself in the Game Ball conversation again this week. He registered his eighth sack on the season and continues to show why he is one of the best young players in the league. Ansah’s stat line this week isn’t spectacular but he continues to impact the game at key moments. Ansah’s key moment in this game, came when he collapsed David Carr‘s pocket in the end zone which incited a holding call on Donald Penn, thus resulting in a Lions Safety.

Matthew Stafford completed 22 of his 35 passes for 282 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown but more importantly he didn’t turn the ball over. Stafford showed  his athleticism rushing six times for 31 yards and a touchdown. Stafford’s rushing touchdown was a well called play by Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Oakland spent most of the day in man coverage and Cooter used that to his advantage.

The Lions lined up with an empty backfield which spread the raiders out to the perimeter of the field. This left the Raiders four defensive lineman and the middle linebacker to match up with the Lions offensive line. The Lions offensive lineman held their ground and created a middle gap with a lumbering Larry Warford hunting down the middle linebacker. All Stafford had to do was rush through the gap and follow his best offensive lineman into the end zone for the eventual game winning score.

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Previous Game Ball Winners:

Week 1: Ameer Abdullah
Week 2: Ezekiel Ansah
Week 3: Calvin Johnson
Week 4: Ezekiel Ansah (2)
Week 5: Theo Riddick
Week 6: Matthew Stafford
Week 7: Caraun Reid
Week 8: Matt Prater
Week 10: Martha Ford