The Detroit Lions beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and it’s safe to say that they would not have done that if not for rookie tight end Sam LaPorta. The tight end out of Iowa finished the game with nine catches on nine targets for 140 yards and a touchdown.
LaPorta’s phenomenal rookie season now has a new accomplishment: the Lions’ record for most yards produced by a rookie tight end in a single game. According to Stathead, LaPorta’s 140 yards in a single game just barely edged out that of Charlie Sanders back in 1968, where he pulled in 10 catches for 133 yards.
For the season, now, LaPorta has 64 catches for 679 yards and six touchdowns.
But that doesn’t even really showcase just how important and impressive LaPorta was on Sunday. Not only did he set a record, not only did he catch every single pass that was thrown to him, but he was also responsible for the most critical plays in this game. He had a 48-yard grab that helped the Lions get out of their offensive drought. His early 13-yard touchdown gave the Lions a nice healthy lead.
And then, when the game was on the line, LaPorta had an absolutely essential catch to help ice the game. With the Lions facing a third-and-7 with 2:48 left in the game, Goff went through his progressions. Eventually, he found LaPorta in very tight coverage. And despite the ball being thrown a little behind him, LaPorta secured the catch and the first down, allowing the Lions to bleed precious seconds and keep the ball out of the New Orleans Saints’ hands at the end of the ballgame.
“Sam LaPorta was huge today for us,” coach Dan Campbell said after the game. “He really, really made some huge plays.”
There are a ton of things to talk about after this game, but let’s take a moment to thank our lucky stars that LaPorta is just starting his young career in Detroit.