Next Gen stats put Kenny Golladay’s Lions debut in better perspective – Detroit Lions News

Next Gen stats put Kenny Golladay’s Lions debut in better perspective – Detroit Lions News

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We look at five plays that turned the game in the Lions’ 35-23 victory over the Cardinals in the season opener at Ford Field, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Video by Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press
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Kenny Golladay had the best debut by a Lions receiver since at least Calvin Johnson (better, if you judge on touchdown receptions), a performance that’s even more impressive when seen through the lens of the NFL’s Next Generation stats.

Golladay caught four passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions past the Arizona Cardinals, 35-23 in Week 1.

The rookie third-round pick was clocked as the fastest Lions player in the game, reaching a top speed of 19.43 mph on his 45-yard touchdown catch, and he ranked among the league leaders in air yards per target.

On his seven targets, passes to Golladay traveled an average of 17 yards in the air.

Just three players (with a minimum five targets) averaged more than 20 air yards per target: New England Patriots receivers Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan, and San Francisco 49ers speedster Marquise Goodwin. Golden Tate, the next closest qualifying Lion, averaged 5.7 air yards per target.

More: Marvin Jones gets No. 1 WR treatment, ‘a better player than he was last year’

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