Detroit Lions Week 6 Game Ball: Matthew Stafford

Oct 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Detroit won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Detroit won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Detroit Lions hosted the Los Angeles Rams in week six, several players stood out but it was Matthew Stafford who performed the best and took home this weeks Game Ball.

The Detroit Lions defense struggled all day. But when the game was on the line, they came up with a victory sealing interception for the second straight week. The story of the day was the Lions offense though. Matthew Stafford continues to build on his impressive career and was the easy choice for this weeks Game Ball.

Stafford’s stat line was solid, but it was how he controlled the different phases of the game that really proved his value to this team.

Efficient Passing

At the end of the day, Stafford completed 23/31 for 270 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He spread ball around, connecting with four different wide receivers for touchdowns. Stafford’s passer rating of 139.8 was the second highest of his career.

On the season, he now has 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Timely Rushes

Stafford rushed the ball five times for 14 yards. While that stat line alone isn’t that remarkable, it was when he rushed that was important. His most impressive run of the day was: down seven, late in the fourth quarter, on third and four, Stafford ran up the middle and dove between two defenders for the first down.

This was key, because if the Lions don’t secure the first down, Caldwell likely sends out the kick team and goes for three. This would’ve put the Lions down four and the Rams would’ve had possession with seven minutes remaining in the game.

This run for the first down, may have been the most important play of the game.

Overcoming Drops

Of Stafford’s eight missed passes, four of them were drops, but that didn’t prevent him from re-targeting those same players. For example, Golden Tate dropped two passes, yet Stafford still continued to throw it to him late in the fourth quarter. Eventually, leading to a game tying touchdown.


Accurate throws, timely runs, and showing confidence in his team, this was one of Stafford best games as a leader. He showed poise when things went well and kept his head when things didn’t. The Lions were missing their starting tight end, top three running backs and starting right guard, but Stafford found ways to make plays. When the game is on the line, Stafford led the Lions to yet another comeback.

This was Stafford’s 23rd career comeback victory.

Other Lions That Were Considered

Four Wide Receivers Caught a Touchdown

1st quarter: Golden Tate catches a 34 yard pass to set the Lions up at the seven yard line. Marvin Jones gets on the scoreboard, showing excellent body control on a back shoulder fade.

2nd quarter: Andre Roberts scored on a broken fourth-down play, where Stafford made a tough throw off his back foot. Roberts made an incredible adjustment, fighting through pass interference, to secure the catch.

3rd quarter: Golden Tate complete’s a 62-yard reception and run, taking it down to the two-yard line. One play later, Anquan Boldin gets his touchdown on a four-yard slant. Boldin had eight catches for 60 yards on the day.

4th quarter: Golden Tate was the best wide receiver on the Lions today, catching eight passes for 165 yards. His score came on a quick catch and run down the sideline, where he beat the defenders to the edge and took it to the house. After his score he did this:

Zach Zenner quietly had a really nice game

Zenner finished with 14 rushes for 58 yards, with two receptions for 19 yards. He also had two key runs, draining the clock, and setting up Matt Prater‘s game winning field goal.

Riley Reiff had a complete game

He was solid in pass protection, and when he got into space he delivered some crushing blocks. Here’s a couple of tweets of him getting noticed:

With injuries and “planned” rotations of interior lineman, Reiff has been a steady player at right tackle. In a contract year, and with a free agency market and draft class that appears weak, Bob Quinn should starting thinking hard about getting Reiff a contract extension.

Kerry Hyder makes the list … again

This is becoming a habit. While Hyder didn’t have a sack today, he came up big twice.

Quick Hits

  • The Lions have successfully converted five of five on fourth down attempts this season.
  • In every Lions victory this season, the game winning points were Matt Prater field goals.
  • The game winning interception by Rafael Bush, was only the second interception of his career.
  • On kickoffs, Andre Roberts took a knee in the endzone. Twice.
  • Stephan Charles only had one tackle today, but it was a monster one to keep points off the board at the end of the first half.

Next: NFL Draft Watchlist Stanford at Notre Dame

Regular Season Game Ball Winners

Week 1: Theo Riddick
Week 2: Devin Taylor
Week 3: Marvin Jones
Week 4: Andre Roberts
Week 5: Darius Slay

Preseason Game Ball Winners:
Week 1: Zach Zenner
Week 2: Tahr Whitehead
Week 3: Haloti Ngata
Week 4: Kerry Hyder