With their playoff hopes on the line, the Detroit Lions needed to beat the Chicago Bears at home. After a disappointing loss last week, the Lions did not give the Bears a chance in this one. After a close first quarter, the Lions dominated the rest of the game as they shut down Justin Fields and the Bears' offense. The offense looked unstoppable all game as they picked up over 500 yards on their way to scoring 41. Let's see which players deserve game balls in the smackdown of the Bears.
Who are the Detroit Lions Week 17 Game Ball candidates?
Jared Goff did not have many huge, splash plays, but he was surgical, carving up the Bears defense with ease. Goff had a clean pocket all game, and he took advantage. Goff showed his tremendous accuracy, hitting his receivers in stride and keeping drives moving. Goff did not even cue in on one single matchup. He spread the ball around all game with ten different players catching passes. It's hard to find anything wrong with Goff's performance as he ended the day with 21-29 for 255 yards and three scores.
It has been a roller coaster of a year for D'Andre Swift. The talented running back came out of the gates hot, looking like one of the best running backs in the league. After that, he struggled with shoulder and ankle injuries and did not look like himself. Lately, he has shown some flashes of his true form, but for the first time in a while, he had a complete game where he looked elite.
Swift flashed his incredible elusiveness all game with some very impressive chunk plays. Swift picked up 117 total yards on the day with a receiving and rushing touchdown. However, his most impressive play was on a third and 18. The Lions ran a draw play to improve field position, but Swift had a different idea making people miss on his way to a 35-yard rush. That rush led to a huge touchdown that helped put the game away. A really great game for Swift which hopefully is a great sign for things to come.
Despite not playing until Week 11, James Houston has shown that he is by far the steal of the draft. The 217th pick racked up 2.5 sacks on the day and added a forced fumble. In the past, he has relied on his speed and bend to get around tackles, but now, he is finding new ways to win. On one of his sacks, he went through the tackle to bring down Fields, and on another, he was in coverage when he brought down Fields trying to escape the pocket. Houston is one of the best rookies regardless of draft slot, and offenses should fear him every time he is on the field.
Winner: James Houston
When you blow out a team by 31, there will be many players deserving of a game ball, so this was a difficult decision. Even players like Aidan Hutchinson, Jamaal Williams, and Brock Wright played great and weren't even candidates. But if one player deserves the nod, it has to be James Houston.
“Da Problem” is a force on the edge as he leads all rookies in sacks in only 6 games. What he is doing is not just impressive; it is historical as he the most sacks EVER through six games. Even if the Lions don't make the playoffs, the Lions will be thrilled to have him and Hutchinson coming off the ends for years to come.
All stats from ESPN