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Calvin Johnson breaks Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yardage record

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Published on Dec 22, 2012

The Detroit Lions fell to 4-11 in a lost and disappointing season, but there's one thing this franchise can be proud of in 2012, and that's the performance of receiver Calvin Johnson. Despite the fact that every defense he faces focuses on him almost exclusively, the absence of any consistent target to take the heat off of him, and a quarterback in Matthew Stafford whose productivity and mechanics have been inconsistent to say the least, "Megatron" has performed as few receivers ever have. And with 2:57 left in the Lions' Saturday night loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he broke Jerry Rice's single-season record for receiving yardage with a 26-yard catch from Stafford.
After the catch, Johnson handed the ball to his father, Calvin Sr., who was on the sideline.
"It's an accomplishment that took a lot of work," Johnson said after the game. "You're still in the moment -- in the play that just happened, so I was still focused. I don't think I even said anything when I gave my dad the ball. I just gave him a hug. But when I think back on it, it's a special moment.
"We had tried that route earlier, but it got walled off by the MIKE [linebacker, Will] Witherspoon," Johnson said of the record-breaking catch. "We called the route again, and I just bounced it around -- I was just like, 'See the ball, see the ball.' The guys were telling me that I was 4 or 5 yards away -- everybody was keeping the record up."
The old record was set by Rice in 1995 with 1,848, and Johnson, who ended the game with 11 receptions for 225 yards, now has 1,892 for the season. He has a very good opportunity to become the first receiver to break 2,000 yards for a single season, a goal once thought unobtainable -- even by the greatest receiver of all time.
"It's gonna go down," Rice told ESPN's Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden in the third quarter. "This guy is just really amazing. Watching him go out there and do his thing on the football field -- he's a true talent, and that's why they call him Megatron. You never want your records to be broken, but if anyone's gonna do it, I would prefer Megatron to do it. I think this guy is trying to not only break my record, but he's trying to get to 2,000 yards. I tried and was not successful, but I think he's gonna do it.
"He can run every route -- from the slant, to running by you with that 4.35 speed. He can out-jump out -- just get up in the air, levitate, and make those incredible catches. He has all the tools."

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