Lions tight end Sam LaPorta wasn't sure if he'd be able to play through a knee injury at all on Sunday against the Rams, but he did play, scored a touchdown, and did it with an unusually intelligent play for a rookie.
LaPorta explained to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com that he was jammed at the line and wasn't open initially, so he went toward the middle of the end zone, something that wasn't how the play was drawn up but had been discussed at practice two days before the game.
“Fridays are our red-zone day,” LaPorta said. “So Jim Hostler, one of our pass-game coordinators, and works a lot with the tight ends, he’s in our room quite frequently. He just hinted to me, like, ‘If you don’t get the ball on the initial route, what do you think you’re going to do?’ I was like, 'I guess I never thought about that, Hos. I’ll probably tuck it in.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s perfect.’ But yeah, he just mentioned that to me, gave me a little hint.”
Fortunately for the Lions, Goff saw LaPorta and hit him in the end zone for a fourth-down touchdown.
“Then of course the first person I see on the sideline is Hos, looking at me out of the side of his eye,” LaPorta said. “I was just like, ‘It was just like you said, Hos.’”
LaPorta's knee is getting better, and the Lions will hope to get even more from their preternaturally productive rookie tight end against the Buccaneers.