Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown delivered one of the most thrilling plays from Sunday’s 20-6 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On a third-and-13, St. Brown took a short option route, ran halfway across the field—avoiding at least three Bucs defenders—and then, sprung by a huge Craig Reynolds block, St. Brown finally turned it upfield to not only gain an unlikely first down, but find the endzone. The play gave Detroit a 10-3 lead, which was technically the winning score of the game.
As exciting of a play as it was, St. Brown technically did just about everything wrong on that play. See, a play like that is typically called for St. Brown to make an easy catch, gain as much as he can, and set the Lions either up for an easier field goal or put them in a position to go for it on fourth down.
So when he caught the ball, the surest way to maximize yardage is to simply grab the ball and turn upfield.
“They teach us to ‘catch and knife,’ which means catch and get upfield, get as many yards as you can,” St. Brown said after the game.
But something about that moment told St. Brown to do something different. He was going to try to do something special.
“I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to cut across the field. I’m going to try and score,’” St. Brown said.
As Brown cuts across the field, he’s got literally five Buccaneers defenders chasing him:
And that’s when Reynolds, at the top right of that screenshot, comes in and clears out one defender and impedes another.
“I see Craig come out of nowhere and I kinda point at No. 24 and Craig zoom, BOOM, lights him up,” St. Brown recalls. “He’s the reason I scored.”
Even Jared Goff pointed out that what St. Brown did was wrong, but praised Reynolds for the block.
“Saint did everything wrong running sideways, and he still made the play,” Goff said. “Partially because of what Craig did there. But yeah it was sweet. It was pretty cool.”
Sometimes when you’re as good as Amon-Ra St. Brown, you trust your instincts and you live by your own set of rules. If that play was wrong, I don’t want Amon-Ra St. Brown to be right.