New star Lions re­ceiver breaks out in NFC North Good news for Ea­gles: His­tory is on your side

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NEWS - Jeff Sei­del Marc Lawrence

DETROIT — You ever see those old grainy film reels show­ing movie stars go­ing through au­di­tions be­fore they have made it?

That’s what it feels like watch­ing Lions wide re­ceiver Kenny Gol­la­day right now.

Like we are watch­ing the be­gin­ning of some­thing ab­so­lutely spe­cial.

Gol­la­day is a walk­ing high­light reel, and it’s hard to pick his finest mo­ment from an Oct. 7 win over the Pack­ers.

Was it the leap­ing, twist­ing catch near the side­line?

Was it the stiff arm that flat­tened a Packer? I don’t want to laugh — se­ri­ously I don’t — but Ha Ha Clin­ton-Dix, that’s gonna leave a mark.

Was it the way he used his body against a de­fen­sive back to get wide open in the end zone?

Was it the way he tip­toed down the side­line?

Or was it his un­selfish­ness, go­ing into the box and block­ing a line­backer?

It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to pick one.

Be­cause Gol­la­day many things well.

But I gotta go with the arm.

It hap­pened in the first quar­ter, when Lions quar­ter­back Matthew Stafford lofted a pass to­ward the side­line.

Gol­la­day went up and snagged it out of the air against Josh Jack­son, This, in it­self, was a thing of beauty: a twist­ing, leap­ing catch that looked more like a bal­let move than any­thing.

Gol­la­day took off and Clin­ton-Dix with a stiff arm. Ka-whack! Pure power. “He’s un­be­liev­able,” tackle Tay­lor Decker said.

It’s like this se­cond-year re­ceiver is ma­tur­ing in front of our eyes, pro­duc­ing a high­light ev­ery time he touches the ball. He’s a fan­tas­tic blend of power, did so stiff hit speed, size and grace.

“I’m sure when we get back and look at it to­mor­row, I’m sure there’s still go­ing to be some cor­rec­tions,” Gol­la­day said. “I’m sure we could have prob­a­bly had a bet­ter half. I mean, a cou­ple plays got called back. We played a good half, but I’m sure it could have been a lot bet­ter.”

In the fourth quar­ter, the Lions held a 24-14 lead, and it felt like Aaron Rodgers was go­ing to pull off a mir­a­cle come­back from be­ing down 24 at the half.

Then, Gol­la­day took over. He lined up on the line of scrim­mage, fac­ing Kevin King.

Gol­la­day wiped King to the side — a show of pure force — and slipped into the back of the end zone.

Three Pack­ers could only stand there and watch, as he caught the touch­down and cel­e­brated by throw­ing the ball into the stands.

“It felt good get­ting this win, that’s what felt good,” Gol­la­day said.

Gol­la­day was tar­geted nine times and caught four passes for 98 yards and a touch­down in a game the Lions went on to win 31-23.

“This is just a game of matchups,” Stafford said. “Last week, GT (Golden Tate) went for 100 and what­ever; this week, Kenny had a big one. Marv (Marvin Jones Jr.) will have a big one next week. That’s what makes this of­fense dif­fi­cult to de­fend; we have a lot of guys that can make plays. I was happy that Kenny had some op­por­tu­ni­ties to­day and made some big ones. I had a cou­ple chances at some oth­ers and for one rea­son or an­other those got called back or what­ever. So just proud of the way we fought as a team. Kenny ob­vi­ously had a nice game.”

And that doesn’t count the 46-yard touch­down that was called back on an il­le­gal-hand­sto-the-face penalty on rookie line­man Frank Rag­now.

“Like I have been say­ing, 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.”

Gol­la­day is oddly quiet for a wide re­ceiver.

The NFL has a long his­tory of brash, big-talk­ing re­ceivers. But that’s not Gol­la­day.

I guess he doesn’t have to say any­thing bold.

Not af­ter what he does on the field.

De­fend­ing NFL Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons are most al­ways the No. 1 team on each op­po­nent’s sched­ule the fol­low­ing sea­son. The Philadel­phia Ea­gles are un­der­go­ing the pangs of be­ing a tar­geted team this sea­son.

The good news for them this week, though, is that when they travel to MetLife Sta­dium Oct. 11 to face the New York Gi­ants they will do so know­ing that de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons sport­ing sub -.500 records are 17-9 SU (straight up) and ATS (against the spread) from Game 6 on out when com­ing off a SU fa­vorite loss. And when they face a divi­sion op­po­nent in these games they are 9-0 SU and ATS.

Stat of the week

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is 9-0 SU and 7-1-1 ATS away in games in his ca­reer when his team is un­de­feated and is fac­ing an op­po­nent with a win per­cent­age of .750 or less.

Lions wide re­ceiver Kenny Gol­la­day tries to run past Pack­ers corner­back Josh Jack­son af­ter a catch dur­ing the first half Oct. 7 at Ford Field.

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