Preseason hype is usually about as meaningful as a cover letter for a job app—it sheds lots and lots of positive light on typically mundane achievements. Especially if you’re a fan of a success-starved team searching for hope, you learn to tune most of it out, wary of all the false promises you’ve heard before.
That’s why Kenny Golladay was such an incredible surprise in Detroit’s win over Arizona today. After drawing praise in preseason, the third-round pick out of Northern Illinois made an immediate impression in real competitive play, with two spectacular touchdown catches at two key moments in the game.
In the fourth quarter, with the Lions down two, Matthew Stafford lobbed a ball to the edge of the end zone, trusting his young receiver to leap and snatch the catch away from the defending Justin Bethel. It was a tremendous show of athleticism for Golladay.
That alone would have made the afternoon, but then, while Detroit was looking to pull away, Golladay got another chance to score. On a long, leading pass of 50 yards into the end zone, Golladay stretched out as much as he could and dove, bringing the ball in without it hitting the ground through some magic I can’t explain. It was breathtaking, and it sealed the win.
Obviously, this is just one game at the beginning of the year—first-game hype is almost as bad as preseason hype. But it’s an absolute perfect start for Golladay and the Lions. As Matthew Stafford and his team look to make the leap into the deeper rounds of the playoffs, they’ll need all the weapons they can get. Golladay has already shown the potential to be one.