DETROIT -- Kenny Golladay stared out into the crowd and tossed the ball straight up into the air. It's how he often celebrates big plays and touchdown catches -- and it’s a sight that is becoming more familiar to the Detroit Lions.
This is what the Lions hoped Golladay would become when they took him in the third round of the 2017 draft -- a long receiver with extreme high-point skills and the ability to beat most cornerbacks in single coverage. He managed that Sunday on the 31-yard post route he caught for the go-ahead touchdown in Detroit’s 13-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Golladay finished with eight catches, 117 yards and the score. He has become the guy QB Matthew Stafford goes to in tight spaces with the belief he’s going to come down with the catch.
It doesn’t always work out -- evidenced by an interception thrown in the third quarter where Golladay was one-on-one -- but more often than not, Golladay is going to win. And it’s elevated him to the point where he should be in the conversation about the better receivers in the league.
QB breakdown: Stafford’s consecutive passes without an interception streak ended at 181 when he tossed a pick intended for Golladay in the end zone. It was a heck of a grab by Casey Hayward and thwarted one of Detroit’s best drives of the day. He threw another interception on a deep ball to Marvin Jones later. The second interception, in particular, was not a good throw. Stafford, though, showed his ability to throw with perfect touch on on his TD pass to Golladay, one of his last passes in a 22-of-30 performance for 245 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Troubling trend: Special-teams units have been atrocious for the Lions this season. The Lions had five first-half penalties combined on punt coverage and punt returns. Jamal Agnew struggled in the return game again and was benched. Even Matt Prater struggled Sunday, missing a field goal and an extra point. It’s even more jarring because since signing Prater, the Lions have been one of the more consistent special-teams units in the league. Detroit needs to fix this because it will cost the Lions a game down the road.
Biggest hole in the game plan: It ended up working out in the end, but CB Darius Slay struggled with Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen. Slay traveled with Allen, who had eight receptions for 98 yards. But when Slay needed to make a play, he made the game-sealing interception in the end zone. He broke in front of Allen to pick off Philip Rivers, an impressive interception that essentially negated a day where Slay was flagged twice for holding and once for pass interference defending Allen.