Detroit Lions week 12 Game Ball goes to Matthew Stafford. Stafford had a near perfect game in the Lions’ Thanksgiving dismantling of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Like in most lopsided victories, the Detroit Lions had several different stand out players. It was Matthew Stafford who stepped up above the rest to secure this weeks Game Ball. Stafford’s fantastic day should put the ridiculous rumors of the Lions moving on from him to rest. He completed 27/38 passes (71% completion rate) for 337 yards (to eight different receivers), five touchdowns (a Lions Thanksgiving record), zero interceptions, and a 137.8 passer rating.
The Eagles helped Stafford out by inexplicably single covering Calvin Johnson and playing soft coverage for basically the entire game. Still, the Lions don’t win this big unless Stafford is on his game. Stafford was sharp and routinely threaded the needle into spots not many other NFL quarterbacks can’t.
Jim Bob Cooter’s aggressive play calling gave Stafford the opportunity to take chances and dismantle the Eagle secondary. It’s clear Cooter trusts Stafford and is willing to let the young gunslinger test his arm. When Cooter changed a 3rd down play call from a simple all-slant route to verticals it resulted in a spectacularly placed throw to Calvin Johnson for a touchdown.
The video above was the first of three Calvin Johnson touchdowns on the day. Apparently Chip Kelly didn’t get the memo that Calvin isn’t washed up after all. Targeted 14 times by Stafford, Calvin caught eight passes for 93 yards. His third touchdown was vintage Megatron on fade route to the back of the end zone that safety Malcolm Jenkins had absolutely no shot at.
Ezekiel Ansah has won the Game Ball twice this season and in all honesty could have won it every other week too. Ansah is just scratching the surface of his abilities and continues to expose opposing left tackles on a weekly basis. When Eagles left tackle Jason Peters went down with an injury Chip Kelly moved 2013 number four overall pick Lane Johnson over to block Ansah.
Ansah was picked fifth in that draft and still holds a grudge that the Eagles passed on him for Johnson. Ansah took out his frustrations on his way to a career day, racking up 3.5 sacks (career game high) bringing his season total to 11.5 (also a career high) which is tied for the league lead. After a third quarter sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery (all by Ansah) we got to see his turkey dance.
Nothing stole the show like Golden Tate‘s second quarter touchdown. Tate shows why his nickname is “Showtime” in the video below.
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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
Week 11: Darius Slay