Detroit — This hasn’t been the season DJ Chark envisioned when he signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the Detroit Lions as a free agent this offseason. Still, he spent the week leading into a matchup against his former team talking more about what he could prove the final six games as opposed to dwelling on the opportunities lost to a midseason ankle injury.
Whether it was that positive thinking, nearing full strength, or some combination of the two, Chark put forth his best effort since joining the Lions, catching five passes for 98 yards in the victory over Jacksonville.
Carrying a game ball awarded to him by coach Dan Campbell after the contest, Chark was beaming following the 40-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Every game means a lot to me, but to be back on the field, I’m taking it very seriously and trying to help my team in any way I can,” Chark said. “It does feel good that you know, to play with my brothers against my old team, to be able to have a good performance, as well as win, that means everything.”
The Lions got Chark involved early, including a 41-yard deep throw down the sideline where he made the grab despite the cornerback having an arm in on the play.
“DJ Chark brought back the deep element for us,” Campbell said. “He made some big-time catches.”
That deep connection was important since Chark and quarterback Jared Goff failed to hook up on a handful of shot plays early in the season and the Lions had been lacking that explosive, downfield component to the team’s passing attack in recent weeks.
“You could tell coming into this week, he was ready to go,” Goff said. “He was ready to go come Wednesday, coming into this one, and I think last week, getting his feet underneath him, and then this week, he’s really going now, and he’ll be one of our vertical threats and premier guys in the offense going forward.”
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