By: Ricky Lindsay, Lions Beat Reporter
They call him Megatron, and on a special edition of ESPN’s Monday Night Football this past Saturday, Detroit Lions’ receiver Calvin Johnson etched his name in the NFL history books. Despite a 31-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he broke Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record, set in 1995. Johnson finished the game with 11 receptions for 225 yards.
Johnson’s 2012 season has been historic and numerous. Not only did he shatter the record for most receiving yards in a season, but Johnson now holds the records for consecutive 100-yard games (eight), consecutive ten catch games (four), and most receptions in a month (44).
With one game remaining, Johnson is 108 receiving yards from becoming the lone NFL player with 2000 receiving yards in a single season.
As bright as Johnson’s record breaking season has been, his team’s season has been just the opposite, as the Lions continue their free fall. Detroit was handed its seventh straight loss of the season, after the NFC leading Falcons maintained their early lead throughout the game.
The Lions relied heavily on their passing game against the Falcons. Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 37 passes on 56 attempts for 443 yards and an interception. Stafford made NFL history Saturday evening, surpassing Joe Montana’s record for most passing yards in a game without a touchdown pass.
Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan was dominant, completing 25 passes on 32 attempts for 279 and four touchdowns. Ryan’s four touchdown passes tied his career high.
Running back Mikel Leshoure carried the bulk of the Lions’ run offense. Leshoure rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
The Lions’ other halfback, Joique Bell, played a prominent role in the passing offense. He had nine receptions for 73 yards, second best to Johnson’s efforts.
The Falcons’ receiving duo, Roddy White and Julio Jones, led the way in the passing game. White had eight receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns, while Jones had seven receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Lions’ kicker Jason Hanson provided much of the offense for his squad. Hanson was 3-3 on field goal attempts and 1-1 on extra points, accounting for a total of ten points scored.
The Lions close out their season next Sunday against their longtime rivals, the Chicago Bears. The Lions have the opportunity to finish their season strong with a win, ending their seven game losing streak.
The game can be seen next Sunday at 1:00PM on FOX.