Through the Honolulu blues that have plagued the Detroit Lions 2012 season there has been at least one silver lining.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is once again proving his dominance and demonstrating that he is the league’s best non-quarterback.
“Calvin Johnson is always a bright spot,” said head coach Jim Schwartz. “He makes play after play for us. Maybe we should have put him out there on defense for the last play.”
The Lions Superstar receiver finished the team’s most recent contest – a loss to the Indianapolis Colts – with 13 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown.
That’s a stat line that would normally cause a defense to hang their heads but with Johnson you have to find solace in other areas if you hope to sleep at night.
“I mean how many teams have stopped him? None,” said Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn. “I mean he gets paid the big bucks for a reason and Calvin’s a great player. He’s the best player on that team hands down. And we knew he was going to get his but we were going to contain him as much as we could.”
Johnson was far from contained as he extended his streak of 120-plus yard games to five and his touchdown streak to four.
What’s scary is how big his game could have been. Johnson did have 13 catches but was targeted 20 times and was both overthrown and underthrown on two deep passes that could have been touchdowns.
“Yeah, he’s a heck of a player,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “I even missed him on a couple, could have had a really big day.”
Johnson is threatening Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice’s single-season yardage mark. Rice had 1,848 yards in 1995. 17 years later, Johnson has 1,428 yards through 12 games. With four games left in the year, Johnson is on pace to finish with 1,904 yards.
In fact, if Johnson can average 143 yards receiving over his last four games, he will become the first player in league history to finish the season with 2,000 receiving yards and allow the Lions to become the first organization to boost a 2,000 yard receiver (Johnson) and running back (Barry Sanders).
As unbelievable as that accomplishment may appear, Johnson has the abilities to accomplish it – a statement that any of his teammates, past or present, would confirm.
“That dude’s a beast,” said former Lions and current Colts defensive tackle Cory Redding. “Every year as long as he’s in the league, I don’t care what he’s doing, he’s got my Pro Bowl vote. The guy’s an awesome kid. I remember him coming in as a rookie and just seeing his work ethic. What he’s doing now, I expect that because he’s an unbelievable player and does great things. He’s truly a good teammate.”
The Lions 2012 season may not have turned out as planned but over the next four weeks, there is still a chance for history to be made.