Sam LaPorta earns praise for stepping up in crunch time for Lions

The Detroit Lions watched as rookie tight end Sam LaPorta grew up in a major way with a confident crunch time performance against the Seattle Seahawks.
Nic Antaya/GettyImages

A bright spot for the Detroit Lions amid a tough 37-31 loss to the Seattle Seahawks was the play of rookie Sam LaPorta.

Thrown into the fire, LaPorta has shouldered the load as Detroit's top tight end. Against Seattle, LaPorta showed more growth as he enjoyed a confident, productive day.

LaPorta snagged five passes for 63 yards, and did his best work in the fourth quarter on a drive in which Detroit had to score trailing by 10. LaPorta showed toughness in being able to grab contested passes and fight for yardage. Notably, he wasn't overwhelmed.

As Dan Campbell explained to the media Monday, he thinks LaPorta is a player engineered for big moments

"I know this because he's shown it after two weeks. Critical moments, he is highly competitive. That's a guy you can just tell. He is not going to cower from those moments. He's a guy who wants to make a play, wants to make a block. You can win with those guys. He's still a rookie. He's got to be better in the run game. But he is showing up. What you're seeing is true."

While LaPorta didn't score, his consistency stood out for Detroit, who needed production with David Montgomery out and Amon-Ra St. Brown hobbled. The way he stepped up in the clutch was very significant.

Jared Goff praises Sam LaPorta's development with Detroit Lions

Someone else who is thankful for LaPorta is Goff. The youngster is already beginning to look like a key security blanket for his quarterback.

Speaking to the media after the game on Sunday, Goff said that LaPorta has the traits that have fostered early success.

"I think his run after catch is pretty special. His hands, again at the catch point, he's really competitive. (He's) starting to find himself in a little bit of a rhythm too, and how he wants to play the game and how he fits in our offense. I'm excited to see his development continue."

As Goff knows, LaPorta is only going to improve as the season wears on. Seeing him take another big step in Week 2 against a quality opponent bodes well for Detroit's offense.

Next. 3 free agent pass rushers the Detroit Lions could target after James Houston's injury. 3 free agent pass rushers the Detroit Lions could target after James Houston's injury. dark