Allen Park — The Detroit Lions have racked up 1,227 yards of offense through three games. On Sunday, they’re going to be without two players responsible for nearly half that production, ruling out wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and running back D’Andre Swift on Friday.
St. Brown suffered an ankle injury in last Sunday’s game against Minnesota. Despite finishing the contest after getting it taped up, he’s been unable to practice this week, putting him on track to miss the first game of his young career.
St. Brown finished with six catches for 73 yards, snapping an NFL record streak of eight games with at least eight receptions. For the season, he’s hauled in 23 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, while carrying the ball two times for another 68 yards.
As for Swift, he had already been playing through a sprained ankle when he suffered a shoulder injury against the Vikings. Combined, those two issues are expected to sideline him the next two games, leading into the Lions’ bye week.
This will mark the third consecutive season Swift will miss time with an injury, sitting seven games the previous two years of his career. The Lions had made keeping him healthy a point of emphasis this offseason, while simultaneously challenging him to play through the more minor physical ailments.
To his credit, Swift had been responding to that latest challenge.
“The one thing I will say about that kid, it was us as coaches that pulled him out (against Minnesota),” running backs coach Duce Staley said. “He wanted to go. He wanted to keep going. And if we didn’t pull him out, he’d still be going today. That tells me about the energy, the commitment, just the fire the kid has to continue to play.”
Swift has been responsible for 231 of Detroit’s 511 rushing yards, including a pair of 50-yard gains. Additionally, he’s added another 77 yards and a touchdown as a receiving threat out of the backfield.
Without Swift, the Lions will lean on a backfield rotation headed by Jamaal Williams, who is coming off a 20-carry, 87-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Vikings. He’ll be supplemented by Craig Reynolds and Justin Jackson.
With Detroit’s receiving corps, the team will look to Quintez Cephus and Kalif Raymond to step up and fill the void created by St. Brown’s absence. Starters Josh Reynolds and DJ Chark are also dealing with ankle issues, but they are on track to play this weekend against Seattle.
Kicker also out
The Lions also ruled out kicker Austin Seibert, who missed the week of practice with a groin injury stemming from surgery he had done last season.
With Seibert out, the Lions will turn to Dominik Eberle, who joined the team’s practice squad a few weeks ago.
A former college walk-on, Eberle kicked three seasons for Utah State from 2017-19, making 64 of 81 field goals with a long of 52 yards. He also appeared in a game for the Houston Texans as a COVID replacement last season, making two field goals, including a 51-yarder.
Born in Germany, Eberle moved to the United States when he was 14. He picked up kicking soon after he caught the attention of his high school football coach, after sailing a free kick while playing soccer. And even though the opportunity hasn’t arisen at either Utah State or during his brief professional career, he said he’s confident kicking from up to 60 yards.
Jacobs to start practicing next week
Cornerback Jerry Jacobs, who is on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL last December, is expecting to start practicing next week, the soonest he was eligible to get back on the field.
An undrafted rookie last season, Jacobs appeared in 13 games, making nine starts. Once he returns to practice, the Lions will have three weeks to add him to the active roster.