Calvin Johnson is closing in on one of Jerry Rice’s prized records.
Barring a stumble or untimely injury, Johnson looks to be in good shape to set a new mark for receiving yards in a single season. The Detroit Lions wide receiver, who will play tonight against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field, needs 182 yards to top Rice’s record of 1,848 from the 1995 season.
Johnson’s numbers this season are astounding in what has largely been a one-dimensional attack. He’s made 106 receptions for 1,667 yards (15.7 yards per catch) with five touchdowns. He could pick up 182 in one game – he had 207 in Week 11 at Minnesota. But if he averages 91 yards this week and next Sunday when the Lions host the Chicago Bears, he’ll set a new bar.
“They're NFL records. Those are big,” Johnson said, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “Those are big deals.”
Rice circulated on Wednesday through various ESPN platforms and sounded resigned to the fact that Johnson will set a new mark.
“I have 40 records,” Rice said. “I don't mind giving him one.”
Johnson has produced huge numbers all season with opponents keying on him. That is what superstars do.
“It's a will, it's an attitude, it's a mentality you've got to have,” he said. “You go out there and you love to compete against the best and whatever they throw at you, you're willing to try to beat it. That's the mentality you've got to have. That's the mentality I hope most people on this team have.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune