Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been adopted as a fan favorite in Detroit, but he is a California kid through and through having grown up in Southern California. He played his college ball at USC.
St. Brown is certainly looking forward to returning to his home state and putting on a show Sunday in front of friends and family at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
"I'm excited to go back," St. Brown said this week. "I'm excited to go back home and hopefully have a good game in front of my friends and family."
There's nothing that leads us to think he won't with the tear St. Brown is currently on. He's produced three straight 100-yard receiving games and has five such games over his last six.
In his third season, St. Brown has been as good as ever for the Lions. In seven games he has 57 receptions for 665 yards and three touchdowns. Only seven games into his third season he already owns the record for most receptions through three seasons (253) in team history.
St. Brown is coming off a six-catch, 108-yard performance in Detroit's win over Las Vegas Week 8. That despite being added to the injury report the day prior with an illness that resulted in St. Brown having to play through blisters developing on his hands, feet and mouth. St. Brown said this week it felt like he was running on needles, and it hurt to catch the football.
"But I had to play. I already missed one too many games," he said. "I knew we had a bye week coming up too, so I was like I can just push through the game, and I'll be alright."
St. Brown has since recovered and is looking to push his streak of 100-yard receiving games to four and help push Detroit's record to 7-2 to start the season.
"The guy does everything for us and he's one of the reasons that our offense is able to go," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Friday of St. Brown. "He's one of the biggest pieces of it. He's a self-made man. I mean he puts in the work every day at practice, every day pre-practice, post-practice. I mean he just – he does. He puts it in and he improves every day."
The Lions traded for veteran wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones at the trade deadline Oct. 31st. The Lions had their bye week the week after, and while that allowed Peoples-Jones more time to get acclimated to the playbook, it didn't allow for any practice time.
He's been limited in practice this week with a rib injury suffered in his last game with Cleveland that Campbell said was not a long-term issue which is why he passed his trade physical.
Campbell said the plan is to get with Peoples-Jones, receivers coach Antwaan Randle El and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in the next day or so to see where Peoples-Jones is at and whether he thinks he'll be ready to contribute and be active on Sunday.
"Just kind of gather all the facts and see where we're at," Campbell said. "I want to make sure he's comfortable too. I do. So, we have that luxury right now. We're pretty good in the receiver room, so we'll see."
POPULATION TO FOOTBALL
That's the message Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn have had for Detroit's defense this week when talking about how they are planning to attack and contain versatile Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.
Ekeler leads the NFL with 42 scrimmage scores over the last three seasons, and last year he caught 107 passes to go along with 18 total touchdowns. He's been hampered by injury early in the season, but the Lions know how dangerous he can be in space. Team tackling and getting to the football are keys for them this week.
"He's got a low center of gravity, he's quick, he's got strength, he's a dangerous screen runner, route runner out of the backfield, his run after catch," Campbell said. "So, I think he's another one of those guys honestly, it's population to the football.
"Man, the first guy arrives and if you can't get him down, well you need to hold him up while the calvary shows up, so that's really – guys like that, that are explosive, man, population to the football."