DETROIT — Another NFL record is within reach for Amon-Ra St. Brown.
The second-year Detroit Lions receiver knows it. But that’s not what’s driving him. He says he wants to be the best receiver in the NFL.
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“I would say I take pride in consistency, definitely. That’s something that I take very seriously,” St. Brown said. “But, the records, it is what it is. I don’t go into the game thinking, ‘Yo, let me get this record.’ It kind of just happens.”
With eight receptions against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, Fox), St. Brown could set a new NFL mark with nine consecutive contests of eight or more catches. He also needs just one touchdown to set another franchise record of seven straight games with a touchdown catch. This after a season in which he set Lions rookie records for receptions (90) and receiving yards (912). To add to his mounting accomplishments, St. Brown was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday. But he says he still isn’t satisfied.
“I think it’s normal now. I’m not surprised at all. Seeing the award, I don’t get excited about it anymore,” St. Brown told ESPN. “I want more. I want more than just that, whether that’s playoffs, Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, All-Pro, whatever it is. I want more. So, that award was cool, I see people like to post it and tell me congrats, but I don’t pay no mind to it. My goal is bigger than that.”
Lions teammates and coaches credit St. Brown’s elite production to his consistency. His daily routine of catching 202 balls on the Jugs machine is widely known, but he’s also disciplined with his core workout program.
With nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 36-27 win over the Washington Commanders, St. Brown joined Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski as the third player in league history with a touchdown in six straight games while under the age of 23.
How has he been so good? Easy. He both gets open and catches the ball at elite rates.
Since 2021, when St. Brown entered the league, he has caught 74.3% of his targets, which is the seventh best among the 50 players with at least 100 targets in that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. On 144 targets in his career, he has just two drops (1.4%), which is the seventh-best rate in the NFL since 2021 with a minimum of 50 targets. And he has an average of 3.41 yards of separation from the closest defender in his career, which is the 10th best in the NFL among the 50 players with at least 100 targets in the past two seasons, according to NFL Next Gen stats.
Detroit quarterback Jared Goff describes him as “a very friendly target” with his route-running ability and attention to detail during the catch, which is why he has been able to continue his hot start without the record-breaking statistics feeling like they’re being forced.
“Like, for a quarterback, friendly is like, always comes back to the ball, always catches the ball away from his body, is always where he needs to be, understands coverage, understands what I’m looking at, what I’m looking for,” Goff said. “Always asking questions. Comes downhill when he’s breaking out on that touchdown just to make sure that guy can’t make a play on it.
“Little things like that that typically you can’t teach, and he has it, so it’s a guy I’m lucky to play with, and sky’s the limit for him.”
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson compares St. Brown’s early production to that of the New Orleans Saints‘ Jarvis Landry, a fellow slot receiver. His unique skill set allows the Lions’ coaches to use him as more than just a receiver as well. He has five rushing plays of 10 or more yards in his young career, which makes him one of the most favored options on the field.
“When you have a guy as talented as [St. Brown], it really opens a lot of windows and opportunities for directions we can go,” Johnson said. “It’s really a testament to him because he’s such a smart player that we can put him and experiment with things that he’s never tried before necessarily and yet he can still apply it on the first try, so it’s pretty cool to see.”