Jared Goff hasn't thrown many passes to wide receivers this season. He's thrown the most to Amon-Ra St. Brown. The rookie from USC is becoming the favorite target of the quarterback from Cal.
“Saint’s done a great job and I think its our job to get him involved more," Goff said Wednesday. "It’s on me, it’s on how we’re doing things. We need to get him the ball a little bit, and I think last week we did that. But he’s done a great job ever since he got here."
They did it the week before, too. St. Brown has eight targets in each of the past two games, and he's turned all but three of them into catches. He's not a big-play threat, but the Lions didn't necessarily draft him to be. He's a crisp route runner and a reliable set of hands in the slot. He's a weapon every offense needs.
With seven catches for 65 yards in the Lions' Week 5 loss to the Vikings, St. Brown became the first rookie receiver in franchise history to catch at least six passes in consecutive games. He's also Detroit's first rookie receiver to put up consecutive 60-yard games since 2011. Dan Campbell dubbed St. Brown the 'Sun God' in training camp because of his bleached blonde hair. The color's since faded, but his talent's starting to shine.
"As a rookie, he doesn’t look like a rookie," said Goff. "He’s stepped up. He’s a guy that four or five years from now I expect to be in the tops of the league of guys in the slot or even on the outside that can make those plays and do those things that you’d like to see him do."
When the Lions got the ball down 10 with just over three minutes to go last week, Goff went right to St. Brown for an 18-yard gain. It pushed Detroit into Vikings territory and set up a field goal. And where did Goff go when they got the ball again moments later? Back to St. Brown for a 10-yard gain that set up D'Andre Swift's go-ahead touchdown.
Under ideal circumstances, the Lions wouldn't be leaning so heavily on a fourth-round pick in his rookie season. But in a thin receivers room stripped to the bone by injuries, the circumstances are ideal for St. Brown. Through five games, he leads the group with 26 targets and 19 receptions and ranks second in yards.
St. Brown said last week the game is starting to slow down. He said it felt a lot faster in the season-opener when he caught just two passes for 23 yards. He said he's gained command of the playbook, which has allowed him to trust his instincts. Now his quarterback trusts him, too. Goff might not be around much longer, maybe another year. St. Brown feels like someone we'll get to know well.