Lions' trust in rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown pays off in performance

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Atlanta — Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is on a remarkable run of production, so much so that it's probably time to label it a pattern. 

In Detroit's loss to Atlanta, St. Brown caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, while adding another 19 yards on two carries. He finishes December with 35 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns.  He's essentially doubled his statistical output from his first 11 games. 

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Falcons.

Those numbers from the past four games would put him on a pace just shy of 1,500 yards in a season. It's the type production you might expect from a Pro Bowl wideout, not a rookie drafted in the fourth round

"There is not enough to say about St. Brown," quarterback Tim Boyle said. "I was around his brother in Green Bay, Equanimeous, and just to see kind of the carryover personalities and the work ethic.

"...His ability to see coverage, his ability to win vs. man, he’s smart, he gets it," Boyle continued. "He’s a big dude, he’s fast. Like I said, there’s not enough you can say about St. Brown and we are very, very lucky to have him on this team. And for him to be a rookie and having the success he’s having, hopefully it only gives him confidence moving forward. Yeah, he’s a fan favorite for the quarterbacks, no doubt."

The team's quarterbacks aren't the only ones happily putting trust in St. Brown. It's also the coaching staff, which has been making him the focal point of the game plan during this recent stretch.

That includes his sudden increased usage as a ball carrier. Against the Falcons, the Lions called a handoff to St. Brown that was only recently installed in the playbook. The play ended up netting a 12-yard gain. Then, on the very next play, he worked a route combination that freed him up for a 24-yard reception. 

"There's been a lot we've put on his shoulders these last few weeks — because he's capable, that's why," Lions coach Dan Campbell said. "And he is improving. He's steady and he's reliable. So, yeah, he's in a great place. He's one of those guys that as a play-caller, I trust a ton."

Detroit opened the season with a bigger question mark at receiver than any other position, and long-term concerns have lingered well into the season. But St. Brown's recent emergence, along with the addition of Josh Reynolds off waivers, is providing a brighter outlook for the future of the corps. 

"Yeah, just going out there, coaches are trusting me, team is trusting me, I trust myself," St. Brown said. "I know what I can do. I'm confident. And like I told you guys earlier, I think confidence is one of the biggest things. You can tell guys when they play with confidence, and I have a lot of confidence right now."

"...I think once you show you can make a few plays, I think, just in general, you're going to see more balls thrown your way," St. Brown said. "I knew what I can do all along, It was just a matter of time. So, I'm glad it's happening now and I'm just going to keep going."

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers