Amon-Ra St. Brown said it seemed like the ball was in the air forever as it headed his way with no time on the clock and the Detroit Lions needing a touchdown to secure their first victory of the season.
Just three weeks earlier, St. Brown had been moved to the left outside receiver spot specifically for this play the Lions have practiced since training camp for a late-game situation. Minnesota, who was leading 27-23 at the time, played off coverage two to three yards deep in the end zone with the Lions on the 11-yard line.
As soon as St. Brown saw the coverage, he knew he had a chance to make a play. Quarterback Jared Goff saw the same thing and rifled a pass low a yard into the end zone where only St. Brown could get it. The rookie receiver out of USC hauled it in and picked a pretty good time to record his first career touchdown, a score that earned the Lions their first victory of the season in comeback fashion, 29-27 over the Vikings.
"I mean, my first NFL touchdown, first NFL win, I'm going to remember this day for a long time," St. Brown said after the game. "The way it happened, the way it unfolded was – I mean it was just – it couldn't be any better."
St. Brown finished the game catching 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 86 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He is the first Lions rookie wide receiver to score a walk-off touchdown since the NFL merger in 1970.
"He's a stud. He's a stud," Goff said of St. Brown after the game. "(I have) a lot of confidence (in him). He's a stud and will be a stud for as long as he wants to be in this league. He's been on our mind and I'm sure (head coach) Dan (Campbell) would say too of like trying to get him the ball for the last probably six weeks now.
"I think today it showed up. It's just trying to get him involved and give him the ball in space and what he can do with the ball, I'm sure he jumped over somebody on the sidelines earlier on in the game. He's a freak and can do some things."
St. Brown now has 49 receptions this season, the most a Lions rookie wide receiver has posted through the first 12 games of his career.
HARRIS BACK AT IT
Outside linebacker Charles Harris went the last six games without recording a sack after recording one in four straight games Weeks 2 through 5. Harris told reporters this week he was looking forward to playing a less mobile quarterback in Minnesota's Kirk Cousins with the opportunity to pin his ears back a little bit and not worry about him escaping the pocket.
It turns out Harris had good reason to be excited.
He finished with two solo tackles, four quarterback hits, two sacks, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble that led to a Lions touchdown. He upped his team-leading and career-high sack total to six this season.
Everyone in Detroit will be talking about St. Brown's touchdown to win the game, but running back Godwin Igwebuike made a really important conversion on 3rd and 10 on the final scoring drive to not only gain 13 yards after a short pass from Goff, but also get out of bounds.
"Great play. Great play," Campbell said after the game. "That was unbelievable. Look, all of our guys did a great job, so did (Amon-Ra) St. Brown. You're right, Godwin's was – that was the first one. That was a big one. That took a lot of effort because first, it was almost like, 'You know what? Just split them and get up field, get the first, get down, and we'll run up, we'll clock it.'
"He thought he could make it and that's kind of what you tell your guys. 'If you're in the middle of the field, split them, get down, we'll clock it. Otherwise, if you really think you can do it, then you better do it.' And, he did. He kicked it out, got more yards and got out of bounds and the first down. So, that was huge. It was huge."
JACOBS CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
The Lions might have something pretty special in undrafted rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs.
He logged seven solo tackles, one quarterback hit and two tackles for loss Sunday in a really nice performance from him, especially his open-field tackling.
Jacobs joins Chris Cash (2002) as the only rookies in franchise history to produce seven pass defenses, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble in a season. Jacobs is the only undrafted rookie to do so.
- Campbell on the failed 4th and 1 call late in the fourth quarter: "Well, first of all, I felt like I needed to be aggressive a little bit today just knowing the nature of their offense. I mean, I felt like we could get that. It didn't work out and yeah, at least we're guaranteed to get the ball back knowing we were already up. But yeah, that was kind of the thought behind it."
- Detroit's third-down woes on offense continue. Detroit entered Sunday ranked 31st in the league on third down, converting just 32.6 percent of the time. Detroit was just 2-for-11 against the Vikings, with both conversions coming on the last drive of the game.
- Both Detroit and Minnesota each rushed exactly 27 times for 100 yards. They both ran exactly 71 plays as well. Weird.
- Riley Patterson is the first Lions rookie kicker to convert three field goals in a game since Jason Hanson in 1992.