Lions notes: Wide receiver Kalif Raymond becoming Jared Goff's top target
Inglewood, Calif. — All season, the Detroit Lions have been looking for a wide receiver to step up. And while none of the options have been able to muster consistent contributions, wide receiver Kalif Raymond appears to be emerging as quarterback Jared Goff's most-trusted target.
After six receptions against Cincinnati a week ago, Raymond matched that total against the Rams, while manufacturing a career-high 115 yards during the outing.
"Kalif's a perfect example of the guys in that locker room that fight," Goff said. "He fights. He's where he needs to be. He's on time. He's reliable and he's going to get the ball because of that."
Raymond actually dropped his first target of the day, getting caught looking up field too quickly on a screen pass. That's the kind of play that can rattle a receiver's confidence or cause a quarterback to start looking a different direction, but Goff stuck with Raymond, leading to the big day.
"Coach says it all the time, 'Just move to the next play,' Raymond said. "It a long game, 60 minutes, so as much as I wanted that one, just had to keep going, man, because there was a lot of ball ahead of us."
Goff said feels like he's been building a rapport with Raymond in recent weeks and that showed up when the two were on the same page for a lengthy gain down the sideline at the end of the first half where the quarterback delivered a perfectly timed ball and Raymond made a diving reception.
"I got a good release and I saw the safety coming over and I just looked back and something told me Jared threw the ball and he did, man," Raymond said. "Just the timing of that was awesome because if you look at where the ball landed, it came right over the guy's head. That's a big-time throw, honestly. He put it in only a spot where I could get it. That's just him trusting me to make a play."
Raymond has made several diving catches this season, but said he isn't sure what the secret to success in those instances. His post-practice routine of catching 200 balls on the JUGS machine probably doesn't hurt.
Stafford feels love
Among the 70,000 fans inside SoFi Stadium, there was no question Matthew Stafford's jersey was the most-popular choice in the stands. But more than the Rams blue and gold, there may have been even more Lions fans in attendance where the No. 9 in Honolulu Blue and silver.
Earlier in the week, Stafford expressed gratitude for the continued support of Lions fans and the number in the stands on Sunday wasn't lost him.
"It was humbling, it was really nice to see," Stafford said. "Driving into this stadium today, I saw a few walking around and I thought to myself, ‘That was pretty cool.’ I really appreciate it. I’ve said it a bunch of times, and I truly mean it, I loved my time there. I love all the people there that treated me, my family, my wife, with a ton of respect and a ton of grace for a long time. So, it was cool to see that. Once the ball was snapped, it was football time, I was ready to go play, but it was cool to see some of the stuff going on around."
Stafford was superb on the afternoon, throwing for 327 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also led the 33rd fourth-quarter comeback of his career, although he was quick to tip his hat to teammates Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and kicker Matt Gay for their contributions to the come-from-behind victory.
Lions rookie cornerback AJ Parker, who has been one of the team's pleasant surprises this season, didn't finish the contest after suffering a shoulder injury in the second half.
Outside linebacker Trey Flowers exited the game after aggravating his lingering knee injury, but was able to return to action in the second half.