'Better than gold': Lions rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown finishes breakout season with record haul

DETROIT -- Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown reached a number of milestones in Sunday's 37-30 win over the Green Bay Packers.

With his eight catches and 109 receiving yards, St. Brown broke the Lions franchise records for most receiving yards (912) and most receptions (90) in a season by a rookie. In addition to those marks, he passed Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson’s franchise-record streak of catching eight or more passes in six consecutive contests.

St. Brown was certainly conscious how close he was to making history entering the game -- particularly, that he was 15 yards shy of eclipsing Roy Williams' mark for most receiving yards by a rookie.

“I’d be lying to you if I said no,” Amon-Ra said after the victory. “I knew it was 14 yards, so once I caught that first pass, I think it was over 14. I had to make sure I looked back, waiting to see where the ball was going to be spotted, but I figured it was more than 14, so I just tossed the ball back to our ball boy because I want to keep that ball. That’s something I’ll never forget, but yeah, I knew the amount of yards I needed.”

St. Brown's big day included joining Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) and Randy Moss (1998) as the only rookies in league history to produce 90 or more receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in three straight games. He’s also the fifth rookie in NFL history to record 70 or more receiving yards in six straight games, joining Moss, Beckham, Bill Groman (1960) and Brandon Aiyuk (2020).

Lions coach Dan Campbell described Amon-Ra as being “better than gold.”

“When you’re the athlete he is, explosive, but then you’re tough and you’re competitive, it’s just the way you’re made up and he’s smart,” Campbell said after the game. “And those guys are hard to find that are all-encompassing like that. So, I’m glad we’ve got him, and he proved again. The consistency is there, that’s for dang sure.”

Although the Lions finished the year 3-13-1 -- securing the No. 2 pick in the upcoming draft in the process -- the emergence of St. Brown was a bright spot for the organization. As a fourth-round pick (taken 112th overall) he took the perceived draft slight personally and produced the greatest statistical season for a rookie receiver in Lions history -- something he hopes will springboard him and the team into next season.

“It’s going to be a springboard for us in the offseason, coming into OTAs, whatever we’re coming into,” St. Brown said. “We got a lot of draft picks, a lot of young guys that are going to have to step up. We got a lot of experience this year. A lot of young guys played, which I think is going to help us a lot next year and the years moving forward. I can’t wait to see what we do in these upcoming years and I’m excited.”