Detroit Lions stock watch: Why Romeo Okwara surged in win over Falcons

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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ATLANTA — Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett breaks down the Detroit Lions’ 23-22 win over the Atlanta Falcons and looks at players and coaches who helped and hurt their stocks Sunday.

Stock up

WR Kenny Golladay: A week after tweeting, “This shit gone cost you!” following a big game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Golladay earned himself more money with a six-catch, 114-yard performance. Golladay is too big and physical for most cornerbacks to cover one-on-one and he’s not afraid to lay his body out for tough catches. The Lions need to sign him to a long-term extension rather than risk alienating him and running him out of town.

Lions fans offer to pay Kenny Golladay’s new contract as they react to wild win

DE Romeo Okwara: Okwara has quietly put together a nice season rushing the passer. He had two more sacks Sunday, giving him a team-high four on the season, and he knocked loose a fumble for the second straight week. A year after they didn’t give him enough opportunities playing behind Flowers, the Lions are finally putting Okwara in a position to succeed.

K Matt Prater: Yes, Prater had a bad miss Sunday, pushing a 46-yarder wide right. But he proved once again why he’s one of the best kickers in the game. Prater made his first two field goals over 50 yards of the season, drilled a 49-yarder with 3:16 to play to give the Lions a lead, then made a 48-yard extra point to win the game. With so many bad kicking situations across the league, the Lions are fortunate to have Prater.

QB Matthew Stafford: Usually, I balance this out, with three up and three down for the day. But Stafford deserves mention here, too, after playing some inconsistent football the first five weeks. Like Prater, Stafford was incredibly clutch with the game on the line. He led a pair of beautiful two-minute drives, one at the end of each half, and he used his feet to avoid pressure and make a perfect pass to T.J. Hockenson for the winning score. If Stafford plays like he did Sunday the rest of the way, the Lions might just sneak into the playoffs.

Grade the Detroit Lions’ performance vs. Atlanta Falcons: Your turn to vote ]

Stock down

Falcons coach Raheem Morris: Atlanta’s interim head coach, Morris did not help his chances of getting another full-time gig Sunday. He lost a silly challenge in the second half, costing his team a timeout, and probably should have kicked a field goal to go up four points rather than try and convert a fourth-and-5 early in the fourth quarter. Most egregiously, Morris got too greedy in the final minutes, when he should have taken a knee and played for the chip-shot kick rather than hand the ball to Todd Gurley. That decision ultimately cost the Falcons a win.

S Will Harris: Harris played sparingly on defense for the third straight game behind Jayron Kearse as the No. 3 safety, but he makes this list because he almost tackled Gurley on Gurley’s 10-yard touchdown run with 1:04 left. Surely, Gurley deserves to be on this list, too, but somehow Harris almost declined the gift Gurley gave the Lions.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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