Detroit Lions Week 7 Game Ball: Matthew Stafford

Oct 23, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) pumps his fist during the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field. Lions won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) pumps his fist during the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field. Lions won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Detroit Lions hosted the Washington Redskins in week seven, several players stood out but it was Matthew Stafford who took home the DJC game ball.

The Detroit Lions are 4-3 through seven weeks and that’s largely because of this weeks Game Ball winner: Matthew Stafford. In his 100th game, Stafford completed yet another stunning last-minute comeback.

Stafford has started getting some national attention this week. Fox NFL reporter Peter Schrager, went on NFL networks “Good Morning Football” and told the viewing audience, that not only did he think Stafford was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but that he was the best quarterback in the league (check out the video: link).

Stafford backed-up Schrager (and several other Lions writers/bloggers) claims with another masterful comeback performance. While he only threw for 266 yards and a touchdown, he was magical throughout the day.

The Lucky Bounce

There was some luck. Like on this throw to Golden Tate, which took a fortuitous bounce.

This play illustrated the massive increase in focus we’ve seen out of Golden Tate recently. He played big today, executing jet sweeps, and busting screen plays wide open. He followed up last weeks career best game with six more receptions today for 93 yards.

The Deep Ball

In the second half with the score still tied at three, Stafford and Marvin Jones hooked up on a play that changed the dynamic of the game offensively. Stafford zipped the ball 60 yards to a diving Jones who made this highlight real catch:

Jones fought off a called pass interference infraction by Josh Norman and you could feel the Lions confidence swell. Jones would finish the day with four catches for 94 yards.

The Final Drive

When a Kirk Cousins bootleg gave the redskins the go ahead score (17-13), a quick look at the clock showed 1:05 remaining. With three timeouts, and an elite quarterback who has a pension for late comebacks, you had a feeling that they left too much time for the Lions.

They did.

Stafford finds Jones over the middle for 23. Then a Stafford scramble for another first down (he’s getting really good at this). Then Andre Roberts made up for an earlier drop with a phenomenal catch. Two incompletions later, then this happens:

Clutch is 9’s middle name. But, lets not dismiss that Anquan Boldin makes a terrific effort play to score. This is yet another week where Stafford is utilizing all his wide receivers to bring home the victory.

The Lions Pass Rush

Teryl Austin is improving this defense. He got creative today with his personnel groups and scheme variety: running zone blitzes, defensive line stunts and switches. He also did this without Darius Slay for the entire second half.

Kerry Hyder continues to impress. He pressured the quarterback multiple times and recorded two QB hits. In the first half, he caused havoc in the pocket on Armonty Bryant’s sack (his second in three games), and then got the defense off the field with another pressure on the next play. A second half fumble help sway momentum late in the game.

Khyri Thornton got the start in place of an injured Haloti Ngata, and while he only recorded two tackles, he made several pivotal plays. Including collapsing the offensive line, which essentially caused the fumble on Hyder’s recovery.

While the pass rush mostly came from the front seven, Rafael Bush also got in on the action and got a sack of his own. Because of the defensive line success, the secondary was very active as a result. Tavon Wilson recovered a fumble, and cornerbacks Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs and John Bademosi all recorded at least five tackles.

Punt God

Sam Martin, leads league in 50+ yard punts. He added to that today with punts of 51 and 58. Sam Martin is phenomenal.

Quick Hits

  • Zach Zenner scored his first career touchdown
  • Graham Glasgow got the start over Laken Tomlinson at left guard
  • Riley Reiff dismantled another defensive back in space
  • To prevent a hail mary type play 6’7″ defensive end Devin Taylor played Free Safety
  • Skip Bayless had premature tweet

Next: Draft Watchlist, Alabama vs Texas A&M

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
Week 6: Matthew Stafford

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