In another disappointing loss, let's break down each of the Detroit Lions: game ball candidates. Once again, the Detroit Lions lost after one side of the ball failed to show up. After not scoring a touchdown the past two weeks, the Lions' offense had a bounce-back performance with the return of D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St Brown.
The offense literally was unstoppable in the first half as they scored on all 5 drives in the first half. The second half was a different story as they were shut out in all three drives. On the other side of the ball, the defense regressed badly after a nice performance last week. They only forced one punt and had one other stop with a forced fumble.
Who are the Week 8 Detroit Lions: Game ball candidates?
Last week, Jamaal Williams had one of the roughest moments in his NFL career. Down 4 and at the goal line, Williams lost his first career fumble on a play that could have won the game for Detroit. This week, he was unphased by the mistake. On the ground, Williams was effective in running downhill. Williams did a great job getting upfield and picking up yards.
He also had one of his better games as a receiver. Williams secured all 3 of his targets for 23 yards. Williams has struggled with drops, so it was good to see him be a nice check-down option. Despite Swift returning, Williams's final stat line was very good: 76 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 10 touches.
This week, it was announced that rookie, Jameson Williams would be a month away from returning, and DJ Chark was placed on the IR. With those two out and Josh Reynolds struggling, the Lions needed a receiver to step up. Kalif Raymond stepped up to the challenge. From the opening drive, Raymond threatened the defense deep and made big catches.
Raymond only grabbed 3 passes, but they resulted in a fantastic 76 yards. Included in those was a great 43-yard bomb that would have been a touchdown with a better throw. A nice step-up performance by Raymond who proved his value as a receiver despite his diminutive size.
The defense has struggled this entire year besides a few exceptions. The biggest exceptions have been Jeff Okudah and 6th-round pick Malcolm Rodriguez. This week was more of the same for the young linebacker. He started the game with a bang grabbing his first sack on a well-timed blitz. Rodrigeuz's speed let him hit the gap and bring down the QB. Later in the first drive, Rodriguez recovered the fumble allowing the defense to get off the field.
For the rest of the game, Rodriguez did his thing flying around the field grabbing 7 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup. The Lions have not been good on defense this year, but that blame cannot be put on the stud rookie linebacker.
The Week 8 Detroit Lions: game ball goes to …
Jamaal Williams earns the nod this week on the ground, Williams was efficient and steady picking up 5.3 yards per carry despite his long being only 15 yards. He also finally broke the two-game touchdown drought with two punch-ins in the red zone. In the passing game, Williams did a nice job securing the ball and picking up 7.7 yards per reception. Finally, he added arguably the best touchdown celebration of the year with his finishing celebration with center Frank Ragnow. In a one-win start to the year, that might be the biggest highlight so far.