After the Detroit Lions Week 11 win, they are officially the hottest team in the NFL, extending their win streak to three games by defeating the New York Giants on the road. Once again, the defense stepped up, limiting Saquon Barkley to only 22 yards on the ground. The result was a shutout in the 2nd and 3rd quarters which allowed the Lions to get separation. The offense did its job and capitalized on opportunities as they presented themselves. Most importantly, they did not turn the ball over which was key in getting the victory. There were a few players who were instrumental in the win, but who deserves the game ball? Let’s look at the game ball candidates.
Who are the Detroit Lions Week 11 Game Ball candidates?
With D’Andre Swift still limited, Jamaal Williams has continued to step up as RB1. In that role. Williams had a solid day picking up a tough 64 yards. He does a great job falling forward and keeping the offense on track with positive plays. But, Williams has really shown up in the red zone and on the goal line. Williams was a battering ram on the goal line as he scored three touchdowns. Williams is not flashy with big play potential, but his ability to pick up tough yards adds a ton of value and is why he leads the NFL in touchdowns.
Entering the game, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams received attention as two of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the league. However, once the game started, Alim McNeil was by far the most disruptive player on both teams. The entire game, McNeil was unblockable and was routinely in the Giants’ backfield.
The final stat line is impressive with four tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack, but it does not capture the full extent of his dominance. McNeil had several other pressures and hits on Daniel Jones that affected several passes. McNeil has been solid all year, but this was by far the best game of the second-year player’s career and hopefully a sign of things to come.
After a slower start to the year (which was overblown), Aidan Hutchinson has become the best defensive player on the team and a top-two rookie defender. This week was no different as Hutchinson continues to find ways to make plays despite not recording a sack. Hutchinson started off the game with an incredible interception. Dropping in coverage, Hutchinson showed off his athleticism and made a great catch on a high pass with serious zip on it.
In the 4th quarter, Hutchinson got another turnover as he showed off his hustle to recover a fumble that really put the game away. Outside of the turnovers, Hutchinson continued to play solid football as he was good in the run game and did a good job containing Daniel Jones in the pocket. All in all, it was just another week of Hutchinson being a good football player who finds ways to make plays.
Winner: Alim McNeil
Jamaal Williams’s hat trick was impressive, and Hutchinson’s turnovers were turning points in the game, but neither player put up as dominant a performance as Alim McNeil. McNeil completely wrecked the interior of the Giants’ offensive line. Against the run, McNeil was instrumental in shutting down Barkley, giving no room up the middle for the talented back.
Once the Giants were forced to pass, McNeil was just as disruptive. He easily led the charge on Daniel Jones, and he made Jones uncomfortable the entire game. Mcneil has always been reliable against the rush, but this was the first time the 324-pounder has been this good against the rush. McNeil has all the tools and ability to repeat the performance, and if he can, he will be a menace for offensive coordinators to deal with.
All stats via ESPN