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Golladay gives Detroit another impressive receiving threat

October 8, 2018

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) pulls in 5-yard pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Kenny Golladay is making quite an impression on his fellow receivers in Detroit.

The second-year wideout had four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown Sunday in the Lions’ 31-23 victory over Green Bay. He also had a touchdown called back because of a penalty.

Golladay has given Detroit another strong receiving threat along with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones — and at this point, it’s hard to tell who the defense should be most concerned with.

“Having Kenny play the way he’s been playing since he came on the team has been huge. He’s opened it up for everybody,” Tate said. “Now we have a bunch of guys who can make plays.”

The Lions drafted Golladay in the third round last year out of Northern Illinois, and he got off to quite a start, catching two touchdown passes in his first game .

However, he missed five games with hamstring issues and finished the season with only 28 catches.

Still, the potential was there, and this year the 6-foot-4 Golladay has nearly matched that reception total already. He has 27 catches for 428 yards. On the Lions, only Tate is ahead of him in those categories.

“He’s killing it,” Jones said. “He’s doing a great job, and it’s fun to see.”

Golladay has been productive this season, and he’s also been consistent. He caught seven passes for 114 yards in the season opener against the Jets and was one of the very few bright spots for Detroit in that loss. He’s had at least four receptions in all five games.

The 5-foot-10 Tate is a dependable veteran who can excel after the catch. Both he and the 6-foot-2 Jones had more than 1,000 yards receiving last season. But it’s hard not to notice Golladay’s physical ability and wonder if Detroit’s passing game could be even better as he becomes a bigger part of it.

“He’s obviously a big kid, physical kid, can run, wants to be a really good player,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said after the game against Green Bay.

“Smart, has dialogue with me. All of our guys do, really, which is great. What they’re seeing out there, what they think we can do — so, I’m just happy for our team to get a win. Obviously happy for Kenny. He had a good one.”

Golladay’s 46-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was nullified by an illegal use of hands penalty on a Detroit lineman. Later that period, Stafford and Golladay connected again for a 60-yard gain that set up a touchdown.

Golladay caught a 5-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter that put the Lions up 31-14.

“Whenever my number is called, I’m just trying to make the play,” Golladay said. “So if they want to throw it to me five times or four times a game or nine times a game, I just want to make all the plays.”

As he becomes more of an established target, Golladay may have to deal with more attention from opposing defenses. That’s a sign of respect, of course, and Lions coach Matt Patricia likes what he sees so far.

“There’s a lot of different coverages that are coming his way, there’s a lot of different fronts, doubles, bracket-type situations that he’s running into. ... The great part about it is just his competitiveness overall,” Patricia said.

“Doing the details, doing the little things — the blocking. Maybe some of the plays where he may draw a little bit more attention and free somebody else up. Those are big responsibilities in the offense and kind of help everything fit together for all the guys on the field.”

NOTES: DE Ziggy Ansah, back with the Lions this season on the franchise tag, has missed the past four games with a shoulder injury. Patricia did not appreciate a question Monday about whether Ansah’s contract status might be affecting his return to the field. “The guy’s trying every single day to get back out there. So, that’s what it is. Don’t make it anything more than that,” Patricia said.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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