Although the result of the game was one the Lions will want to forget, wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a game he’ll remember forever.
Detroit’s star has had one of the greatest seasons in league history, and his efforts will put #81 in the record book in more than one place. In Saturday night’s game, Johnson broke not only Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record, but also the NFL records for most consecutive 100-yard receiving games (8) and most consecutive 10-catch games (4).
Johnson also broke Herman Moore’s Lions single-season record of 1,686 yards.
After making the record-breaking grab, Megatron jogged to the sideline and handed the ball to his father, Calvin Sr. Calvin Sr. also appeared with his son in a postgame interview. Both Johnsons said they never dreamed this would happen, but that good things come through hard work.
Johnson finished with 10 grabs for 225 yards in the 31-18 Lions loss.
This game was a microcosm of Detroit’s season: Calvin was great amidst mediocrity from the rest of the team. Now 4-11, the Lions have secured a top seven draft pick for 2013, and could draft as high as third if they lose this Sunday to Chicago.
The same broken record that has played in the Lions locker room the past six weeks played again on Saturday night, but the loss was made more bearable by Johnson’s great day. Jim Schwartz said “I’ve never seen a better player than Calvin Johnson” after the game and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan also sang high praise regarding Johnson.
Not to be outdone, quarterback Matthew Stafford also got into the record book, breaking Bobby Layne’s franchise record for career completions. In just his fourth season (and only his second full one), Stafford already owns or is on track to own many Lions records. With 305 yards in the Lions’ final game, Stafford will be the first player ever to throw for 5,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
The record-breaking was fun to watch, but it doesn’t eliminate the bad taste in the mouths of Detroit’s fans. The Lions’ poor play continued in this game, and they once again lost the turnover battle. At -12, the Lions rank ahead of only five teams in turnover margin.
That’s not good.
Three Lions turnovers led to 17 Falcons points, and Schwartz cued up the broken record, blaming the loss on turnovers once again.
The Detroit Lions may very well be the biggest disappointment of 2012 as far as the NFL goes, but Calvin Johnson has been everything we thought he could be and more. With 1,892 receiving yards, he needs just 108 more to reach 2,000; a destination once thought to be unachievable.
I’m just glad Megatron keeps giving me a reason to watch.
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