Detroit Lions veteran wide receiver Josh Reynolds entered Week 18 just 36 receiving yards away from achieving an incentive bonus that would pay him $250,000. His coaches and teammates were intent on making sure that he got there.
Quarterback Jared Goff and Reynolds’ relationship pre-dates their time with the Lions, and their chemistry has shown up when it matters throughout the past three seasons. While Goff executed the game plan to secure a Lions 30-20 win over the Vikings, you could see that there were a few plays that were designed to get Reynolds the ball.
Throughout the game, Reynolds was on the field for the majority of offensive snaps, blocking downfield and even helping his teammates score touchdowns—watch how Reynolds, at the end of this play, grabs Amon-Ra St. Brown at the goal line and pushes him into the end zone:
But after 57 minutes of the gameplay, Reynolds was still short of his goal and had only caught one of his three targets for 18 yards. That left him 18 receiving yards short of the bonus.
When Detroit got the ball back after a C.J. Gardner-Johnson interception, the Lions were determined to get Reynolds the ball over the final two minutes. The Lions would call his number on four consecutive plays, and Goff connected with Reynolds on all of them, notching another 26 yards and achieving his bonus.
“I felt like we needed to do everything we could to get (Reynolds)—that player does all the dirty work he does for us, all the stuff in the run game, all the blocking, all the unselfish play, then we're going to do whatever it takes to get him something,” coach Dan Campbell said of getting Reynolds his bonus.
It’s also worth noting that Reynolds had a touchdown incentive that was also within reach, and the two incompletions Goff had when targeting Reynolds were both in the end zone.
We have seen countless examples of this team fighting for each other throughout the season, and this is another example of how these Lions players are willing to put their teammates first. It’s nice to see an organization, coaching staff, and players all be willing to help raise one another up, and is likely a big part of the reason they are a 12-win football team readying themself for a home playoff game next week.