Detroit Lions DE Ziggy Ansah frustrated Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears all afternoon on his way to earning his third Game Ball on the season.
The Detroit Lions finished their season on a high note, beating the Chicago Bears, and finishing their season with seven wins. In a game that was for the most part meaningless, we got to see several Lions players set franchise records, both as individuals and groups.
This weeks Game Ball winner, Ziggy Ansah, had a phenomenal afternoon, but fell just short of the Lions franchise sack record. Ansah finished his season with 14.5 sacks, one half shy of Robert Porcher‘s 15. While not an official record, Ansah and Devin Taylor (seven) combined for 21.5 sacks on the season, a high for any previous Lion combo of players.
Not only did Ansah have a sack against the Bears, he also had three hits on Jay Cutler. Two of his hits caused Cutler to alter his throw, resulting in interceptions by Tahir Whitehead and Glover Quin. The Quin interception happened in the final two minutes of the game and effectively secured a Lions victory.
Ezekiel Ansah will attend his first Pro Bowl in year three of an already stellar career. The scary thing is, he’s not yet reached his full potential. If he isn’t yet a household name, he will be soon. Get excited Lions fans, you’re watching the development of a superstar.
Calvin Johnson is an honorable mention for this weeks Game Ball. He was heavily involved and made several plays at key times, including securing the final first down to put the Bears away. According to the box score: Johnson finished his day with 10 catches for 137 and another amazing touchdown.
Theo Riddick set a Lions record for receptions by a running back, breaking James Jones‘s 31 year old record. He would finish his day with four catches bringing his season total to 80 receptions. Riddick, along with Calvin Johnson (88), and Golden Tate (90), combined to be the first trio of Lions players to catch over 80 passes each in a single season. To further illustrate how rare this is, this is also only the fifth time in NFL history that this has happened.
These types of records don’t happen without quality quarterback play. Matthew Stafford completed 28 of 39 passes, 71.8% completion percentage, for 298 yards, three touchdowns and again zero interceptions. Stafford has been so good over the last two months, that this is the type of day we’ve come to expect from him. Over the final eight games of the season Stafford passed for 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Is there anyone left who thinks we should still cut him? Anyone?
The final Lions record broke in this game was by Matt Prater who kicked a 59 yard field goal. Hitting from 59 is hard enough, but to do it on a cold January day, in windy Chicago makes it all the more remarkable. He did miss from 54 earlier in the day but that was only his second miss on his impressive first full season with the Lions.
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Previous Game Ball Winners:
Week 1: Ameer Abdullah
Week 2: Ziggy Ansah
Week 3: Calvin Johnson
Week 4: Ziggy 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
Week 12: Matthew Stafford (2)
Week 13: Isa Abdul-Quddus
Week 14: Golden Tate
Week 15: Matthew Stafford (3)
Week 16: Matthew Stafford (4)