When the Detroit Lions hosted division rival Green Bay Packers in week 17, several players stood out but it was Zach Zenner who performed the best and took home this week’s Detroit Jock City Game Ball.
It took a carefully timed suggestion from team president Rod Wood for the Detroit Lions to get a home game in week 17, and what an opportunity it created. The Lions secured a spot in the playoffs before the game started, but an NFC North title and a home playoff berth was still at stake. Unfortunately, the Lions came up short despite the strong effort from Zach Zenner and that’s why he wins the Detroit Jock City game Ball for the second week in a row.
Zach Zenner once again started the game by bruising his way through a top-five rated rush defense. He showed short area quickness and power to push forward through tackles. He was effective in the passing game, and churned out yardage on the ground, including scoring a touchdown on a goal-line rush to the right.
And it wasn’t just on offense that he was making an impact. His contributions on special teams continues to be extremely valuable.
Once again, his hard work paid off, and he found himself in a career game for the second consecutive week.
But like last week in Dallas, it wasn’t long before Jim Bob Cooter abandoned the run game. Zenner’s 98-all-purpose-yards in the first half was followed up by a disappointing 12-yard second half. He rushed three times for one-yard in the third quarter, and once the Lions got down by two scores, Zenner only carried the ball one more time (five yards) the rest of the game, despite being the only running back to see the field.
Zenner’s final stat line was 69-yards rushing with a rushing touchdown, and four catches for 41-yards. Keeping in mind that most of these stats were acquired in the first half, it’s safe to wonder how he would do if he was given the same opportunities in the second half.
A run game will be critical when Detroit travels to Seattle next week, and Zenner has proven he can make the most of his chances. Will Jim Bob Cooter and Jim Caldwell recognize how abandoning the run game impacted this team the last two weeks? Lions fans will hope they do before it’s too late.
- The odds of the Lions completing eight game winning comebacks, based on their projected win probability, was 1 in 34.6 Billion (Mlive beat writer Kyle Meinke wrote today).
- Stafford is now the fastest quarterback to reach 30,000 yards passing (109 games).
- The Lions are the fifth team in NFL history to have five different players with 50 receptions in a single season (Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin, Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron, Theo Riddick).
- Golden Tate has caught 90 or more passes in all three of his seasons with the Lions.
- The Lions set a team record with only 15 turnovers on the season.
- Tavon Wilson got his first career sack tonight.
- The Lions playoff game will be in Seattle on Saturday night at 8:15 (NBC).
Regular Season Game Ball Winners:
Week 1: Theo Riddick
2: Devin Taylor
3: Marvin Jones
4: Andre Roberts
5: Darius Slay
6: Matthew Stafford
7: Matthew Stafford
8: Theo Riddick
9: Matt Prater
11: The Safeties
12: Darius Slay
13: Golden Tate
14: Matthew Stafford
15: Golden Tate
16: Zach Zenner