Golladay Says Relationship With Stafford Can Reach Another Level

Well that's a scary thought.

Will Burchfield
October 07, 2018 - 9:55 pm

© Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports


When the Lions got embarrassed by the Jets in the season opener, Kenny Golladay was one of Detroit's only players who could be proud of his performance. A couple days later, Matthew Stafford called for more Golladay moving forward

"We have to continue to have as much of that Kenny Golladay as we can have," he said. 

That Kenny Golladay is physical, aggressive and flat-out dominant. He's too big to be handled by corners, too fast to be contained by linebackers. He's a touchdown waiting to happen. He's big-play machine.

That Kenny Golladay showed up on Sunday, catching four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Lions' 31-23 victory over the Packers. If not for a penalty on Frank Ragnow that nullified another long touchdown grab early in the game, Golladay's stat line would have been even bigger. 

As it was, he piled up the second most yards of his career and caused problems for the Packers defense all game long. His chemistry with Stafford continues to grow. 

"We’ve been together now for going on two years, so we work every day together," said the short-spoken Golladay. "The relationship is building."

Building, a reporter repeated. It can go to a different level?

"Oh yeah, oh yeah," Golladay replied. "I still got a lot to do. I still got a lot to get better at. To help me become a complete receiver, I have to keep working." 

To be clear, Golladay was about as complete a receiver as there is on Sunday. He used his speed and his 6'4 frame to his advantage, most notably on a 60-yard reception in the first quarter when he snatched the ball over the head of one Packers cornerback on a long fade route and then barreled over another with a stiff arm. He also blocked like a bull in the run game. 

He did just about all he was asked to do, and a whole lot more. 

"Anything to get the offense going. I look at it like that," Golladay said. "If they want to put me in there and make me block linebackers, that’s fine with me. Come down on the down safety, I’ll do it.”

That's far from his forte, of course. What makes Golladay so dangerous is his ability to break big plays, and he broke the biggest of his career on Sunday with that first-quarter catch-and-run. He already has seven catches of 20 yards or more this season, which is tied for fifth in the NFL. 

Between Stafford's touch deep down the field and Golladay's size, speed and strength, the two are quite the duo in the pass game -- and a nightmare for opposing teams. 

“Well, I don’t have that size, strength or speed either, so that’s probably a better question for him," Stafford said with a laugh. "But he’s obviously a big, physical kid, can run, wants to be a really good player. He's smart, has dialogue with me. ... Im just happy for our team to get a win, and obviously happy for Kenny. He had a good one.”

As Golladay spoke to a scrum of reporters after the game in the Lions locker room, doing his best to keep the exchange short, Kerryon Johnson stood a couple lockers down and looked Golladay's way. Necks and cameras were craned in his direction. 

"That dude’s a freak," Johnson said.

Such is Golladay's skillset, particularly his size and speed, Johnson said he shrugs whenever he watches his teammate make a play.

"It's like, yeah, I expect that," said Johnson, who looks small by comparison at 5'11, 205 pounds. "He’s coming to work every day. I think he’s made his money in practice, and it shows on game days. We see this all the time. When you grind as much as he does, you just know its only a matter of time before it transfers over to the game." 

Stafford chalked up Golladay's big game mostly to matchups. While Golden Tate and Marvin Jones were generally held in check, Golladay used a few mismatches to his advantage. Last week it was Tate who went off. Next week it might be Jones. 

"That’s what makes this offense difficult to defend, we have a lot of guys that can make plays," Stafford said. 

But the guy who can make the biggest plays is Golladay, which is pretty impressive for a fourth-round pick in his second season. His touchdown on Sunday, an eight-yard grab over the middle in which Golladay tore through press coverage at the line of scrimmage, was his third of the year, matching his mark from last year. It put the Lions up 31-14 in the fourth quarter and essentially ended the game. 

That Kenny Golladay is here, and it looks like he has plans to stay.