How Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tom Kennedy came through big for Detroit Lions depleted WR corps

Detroit Free Press

CHICAGO — The Detroit Lions offense has been at its best when Amon-Ra St. Brown is involved, and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson made sure to feature St. Brown early in Sunday’s 31-30 win over the Chicago Bears.

St. Brown touched the ball four times on the Lions’ 14-play opening drive and finished with a season-high 10 catches for 119 yards.

“It was conscious for sure for Ben and I, getting him in a rhythm,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. “He’s our best pass catcher certainly and getting him in a rhythm and making sure he’s feeling it a little bit is important. I think Ben did a great job with our plan this week. It was my favorite plan of the year. It was really well done.”

St. Brown lined up a variety of spots Sunday.

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He carried the ball once out of the backfield for a 2-yard gain, took a shovel pass on a trap play from the slot position, and caught most of his 10 passes from more traditional receiver spots.

After opening the season with eight- and nine-catch games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Commanders, St. Brown was slowed by injuries.

He sprained his ankle in a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, sat out a Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks and was pulled early from a Week 5 loss to the New England Patriots when he was placed in concussion protocol.

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St. Brown caught six passes for 86 yards in the first half and had two catches on the Lions’ game-winning touchdown drive, including a 13-yard run on a shovel pass one play before Jamaal Williams’ touchdown.

“Certainly we had enough in there for him,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “I mean, you know how we feel about St. Brown. He’s a guy that’s highly productive for us. He’s feeling better, too. Every week he’s starting to feel better.But it’s also like, without him speaking, he, you could tell he wanted the ball. Just the nature of the way he was playing.He was coming up with the big plays and it’s hard not to continue to feed him the ball. So that’s a credit to him. Heshowed up.”

One reason St. Brown wanted the ball Sunday was to keep bragging rights over his brother, Chicago Bears receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. The two exchanged jerseys after Sunday’s game.

“I think I’m 2-1 now against him so I don’t have to say much,” Amon-Ra said. “We’ll talk at the end of the year.”

T.K. delivers

St. Brown wasn’t the only Lions receiver who came up big Sunday. Tom Kennedy made one catch for 44 yards, but it was an important third-and-8 conversion on the Lions’ final touchdown drive.

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“I knew that play, that coverage that I was a real option,” Kennedy said. “Not 100% coming to me, but I knew I was a real option in Jared’s progression. He threw a great ball.”

Kennedy’s catch came two plays after St. Brown briefly left the game with an ankle injury, and the Lions scored the winning touchdown two plays later.

“It was big,” Campbell said. “St. Brown had kind of got over there on the sideline, we had to lose him for a minute there, so T.K.’s able to come in and help us out and we don’t miss a beat. It was big. We trust T.K. Hementally knows all the positions. You know he’s going to give everything he’s got. When his number was called, heshowed up. Goff found him and made a huge play for us. It was big.”

Briefly

Safety DeShon Elliott left Sunday’s game with a brain injury, and center Frank Ragnow wore a walking boot on his left foot as he left the locker room.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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