FIRST DOWN: FRIENDLY TARGET
Amon-Ra St. Brown is on one heck of a streak.
The second-year Lions wide receiver caught nine passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 36-27 win over Washington. He has now produced eight-plus receptions in eight straight games, tying Michael Thomas and Antonio Brown for the NFL record for the longest such streak. He's also produced six straight games with eight-plus receptions and a touchdown, which is an NFL record.
He's just the third player in NFL history to produce a touchdown reception in six straight games at age 22-or-younger. The other two players on that list are Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski.
Not bad company.
St. Brown is quickly becoming one of the best young slot receivers in the league, and the No. 1 target for quarterback Jared Goff.
"He's a very friendly target," Goff said of St. Brown after the game. "That's the best way to describe it. He always comes back to the ball. Always catches the ball away from his body. Is always where he needs to be. Understands coverage. Understands what I'm looking at and what I'm looking for. Always asking questions. Comes downhill when he's breaking out. He's a guy I'm lucky to play with and the sky is the limit for him."
St. Brown doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and players like that quickly become a quarterback's best friend. Head coach Dan Campbell said after the game St. Brown is as steady as they come. That describes St. Brown to a tee.
SECOND DOWN: INTERIOR OL
Dan Skipper said after his first career start Sunday that he and his wife were counting the number of contracts he's signed in his career and got as high as 16 before quitting.
Contracts aren't guaranteed in the NFL, and the six-year pro has never made a 53-man roster out of camp. He's been with six different teams and has played in 10 career games before making his first career start Sunday at left guard for the injured Jonah Jackson. Campbell said he and the coaches went with Skipper, who hasn't played guard since his freshman year in college, because they trusted the veteran.
"It's tough, you go in, and you're never quite good enough," Skipper said of his NFL journey. "You're not quite enough. You show up every day, and you think you're doing the right things, and just for whatever reason, it just doesn't quite work out.
"It's not easy. Whether you've been fired once or 100 times, it still sucks. It's tough. You get fired, but just keep on plugging away."
Skipper has done that, and Sunday he got rewarded with his first start.
Evan Brown (center) and Logan Stenberg (right guard) also started Sunday as the Lions were without their three interior starters along the offensive line because of injury.
Skipper, Brown, Stenberg and the entire offensive line played terrific against Washington. The Lions scored 34 points on offense, racked up 425 total yards and 191 rushing yards (8.0 average).
"I thought Dan Skipper did a hell of a job," Campbell said. "He stepped in. Never played guard and he's been dying for this opportunity and I thought he made the most of it."
THIRD DOWN: BIG THROWS
Goff was very efficient in the win Sunday, completing 20-of-34 passes for 256 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 121.7 passer rating.
Goff made some big-time throws in critical moments to help guide the Lions to their first win of the season and a 1-1 record after two weeks. He threw two touchdown passes to St. Brown, one in the back of the end zone to wide receiver Josh Reynolds and one to running back D’Andre Swift while avoiding a blitz and getting the ball to his hot receiver.
There were some throws Goff would want back, especially a couple deep shots to wide receiver DJ Chark that were a hair off, but Goff also made some really big throws into tight windows and had an answer for Washington every time they tried to climb back in the game in the second half.
"We needed him to make some big throws and he made some big throws," Campbell said of Goff. "He missed some, but that's what comes with playing the position. But he also made some big throws in this game."
FOURTH DOWN: OFFENSE CLICKING
For the second straight week the Lions put up 35 or more points, and it's actually three straight games of 35 plus dating back to Week 18 last season. Detroit is the first NFL team to score at least 35 points in each of their first two games of the season since the Packers and Seahawks did it to begin the 2020 season. Dating back to last season, Detroit has scored at least 29 points in five of their last six games.
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is a big reason for that. He has the Lions' offense humming pretty good right now. The team rushed for 181 yards last week vs. Philadelphia and topped that this week against the Commanders with 191 on the ground. Goff threw four touchdowns, and a number of players felt like the offense left points on the field Sunday. Keep in mind, the Lions were without three starters along their offensive line. It didn't matter.
"That was a great job by Ben," Goff said of Johnson. "We got a good lead there early, and then they started to claw back. We made some good plays to keep them at arm's length, and then those last couple drives to close it out, just some of the plays that we've been holding on to, Saint (St. Brown) coming around the sideline. Just some of the stuff that he'd been waiting to call for the right moment, I thought he did a great job."
Asked how good this offense can be, Goff said, 'as good as anybody in the league.'
"We scored 35 last week, scored 36 this week, and you still feel like, 'Ah, but that – but that one.' And I can't think of a few ones off the top of my head, but that one would have really blown the game wide open, and that's our next step, right?" Goff said.
"We feel good about what we did today, but there's so much more out there for us."