Jim Caldwell elects new captains each game, and on Sunday he chose Eric Ebron for the first time in his four seasons as Lions head coach.

Ebron responded by scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of Detroit’s 38-24 win over Cleveland.

It was his second straight strong performance since the trade deadline passed amid rumors that he was going to be dealt. Caldwell still considers Ebron a big piece of the Lions’ core, which is in part why he named him one of four captains for Sunday’s game.

“He’s on our leadership council. He’s a guy that plays. Obviously, he had a great game. Played well last week and played well this week. Oftentimes we try and develop our leadership. That’s the thing that’s important,” Caldwell said. “My most important job is develop new leadership, bring them along, teach them, and that’s what we do.”

Ebron, 24, entered this season with his sights set on the Pro Bowl. That didn’t seem like such a stretch considering he’d increased his reception and yardage totals each of his first three years, but he fell on hard times out of the gate.

His struggles came to a head in a drop-laden performance in a Week 5 home loss to the Panthers and things really turned sour when he was booed mercilessly in a Week 8 home loss to the Steelers.

Even as Darren Fells emerged as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart — and the stat sheet — Caldwell believed Ebron would turn it around. He’s begun to do so in the past two weeks, catching five of his seven targets for 74 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s not like Eric hadn’t played well for us. I mean, the guy has literally doubled his output every single year that he’s been here. He had one bad game, then the last couple games he’s been playing well. The object is to keep that going,” said Caldwell.