ARLINGTON – Detroit can't seem to catch a break on the injury front.
Already without running back D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) and wide receiver DJ Chark (IR - ankle), the Lions lost talented second-year slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to a concussion in the first quarter Sunday against the Cowboys.
St. Brown caught a 4-yard pass on a 2nd and 11 play at the Dallas 21-yard line late in the first quarter and took a shot to the back of the head as he was going to the ground.
As he got to his knees, St. Brown shook his head a bit. When he got to his feet, an official came over and took him out of the game to be evaluated. St. Brown went into the medical tent on the sideline for a number of minutes and then went right to the locker room. Shortly after, the team ruled him out with a concussion. Lions head coach Dan Campbell confirmed after the game St. Brown is in the concussion protocol, but seems to be OK.
"I just talked to him and he gave me the thumbs up," Campbell said.
In five games this season, St. Brown has 28 receptions for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
The NFL has recently updated the concussion protocol following the scary concussion situation with Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a couple weeks back. The NFL concussion protocol now has independent certified athletic trainers (or ATC spotters) looking for players who demonstrate gross motor instability, also known as ataxia. There were signs of that with St. Brown when he got to his feet.
The Lions started defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, defensive lineman Josh Paschal, safety Kerby Joseph and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez Sunday vs. Dallas.
Hutchinson recorded 1.5 sacks to go along with three tackles and three quarterback hits. Paschal had some nice pressures and finished with two tackles. Joseph forced a big Dallas fumble at the Lions' 6-yard line right before the half that was recovered by Detroit. He also chipped in four tackles, one quarterback hit and a pass defended. Rodriguez had three tackles.
It's worth noting the contributions of those youngsters at a time when the Lions' defense is playing its best football so far this season.
The Lions gave Hutchinson some more freedom in his pass rush coming out of the bye week and he rewarded them with a nice game.
"I think we had four rookies starting on defense and I thought we were playing our ass off," Hutchinson said after the game. "Josh was playing his ass off that whole game. He was just playing real well. I think we have a bright future with a lot of the rookies we've got."
The Lions were without Swift Sunday against Dallas, the third straight game he's missed due to ankle and shoulder injuries.
Swift was closer to playing Sunday than he has been the past couple weeks, listed as questionable coming into the game, but still wasn't quite ready yet.
Next week's game at Ford Field against Miami might be Swift's welcome back party.
"Hopefully Swift will be ready next week," Campbell said after the game.
The Lions produced 100 yards rushing (117) for the sixth straight game to start the season, which is something they haven't done since 1976.