Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia speaks to the media on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Allen Park.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

Kenny Golladay has just six catches on seven targets over the last three weeks, but the Detroit Lions’ leading receiver insisted Wednesday he’s not frustrated by his lack of production since the bye.

“Just the flow of the game,” Golladay said. “My number’s called, I try to make the most of the plays and I just got to be ready. You never know when your number’s going to be called.”

Increasingly, Golladay’s number has been getting called at a slower rate than it was to start the season.

Golladay opened the year with a breakout seven-catch, 114-yard game against the New York Jets and scored touchdowns in three of the Lions’ next four games. But as defenses have shifted more attention his way, Golladay’s receiving numbers have dropped.

He had two catches for 37 yards in a Week 7 win over the Miami Dolphins (plus a third-quarter touchdown called back on penalty), one catch for 12 yards the following week against the Seattle Seahawks, and just three catches for 36 yards last week in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

“I think early in the year it was good to have his production and good for him to see some of the things he saw from different defenses,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said in a conference call with Chicago reporters Wednesday. “Like we talk (about) all the time, as seasons go on and coverages change and teams change and there’s a little bit more film out there that teams study and kind of take a look at you, the season gets harder. And it gets harder when you’re a player that teams are looking at and trying to figure out, ‘What is this guy and how does he play?’ He’s just got to continue to learn and grow, continue to develop. It’s part of the process.”

Golladay, by default, has become a more important part of the Lions offense since last week’s trade of Golden Tate. And while his numbers are down, he said he’s pleased with his play overall.

“Still a lot to get better at,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing an OK job, but like I say, I only had like three catches last week, of course I want more catches than that, but at the same time I just got to make sure I’m doing everything on my end.”

This week, Golladay has another tough test against his hometown Chicago Bears, who have the NFL’s fourth-best scoring defense and are allowing just 6.9 yards per pass.

Golladay grew up in Chicago, played collegiately at Northern Illinois and said he’s “looking forward” to returning home.

“To be honest, it’s really just another game for me,” Golladay said. “I’ve played in Chicago before. I played last year, but last year I would say was a good homecoming. My first NFL game there, having a couple catches, having a couple big plays. So as of right now it’s just another game.”

Back pain 

Zach Zenner, who re-signed Tuesday with the Lions after the waiting period for his injury settlement ended, said he broke the L-2 and L-3 transverse process in his back in the Lions’ exhibition finale back in August.

“If you’re going to break your back, it’s the best way to do it,” Zenner joked.

Zenner said he did not need surgery for the injury, but is healthy now. He’s expected to help the Lions on special teams and play as their No. 4 running back behind Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick.

“I haven’t got an X-ray technically to prove that they’re healed,” Zenner said. “But it’s all about pain because it’s not a load-bearing bone.”


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