The Detroit Lions have had a very disappointing season, after finally reaching the NFL Playoffs last season. A repeat trip to the postseason is not in the cards, but that dos not mean that all is lost in the Motor City. They still have something – or someone – to play for over the final three games of the season.
Calvin Johnson is looking to accomplish something that no other wide receiver has been able to to since 1995, when Jerry Rice set the single season receiving yards record with 1,848. That means that Randy Moss couldn’t do it. Terrell Owens couldn’t do it. Marvin Harrison couldn’t do it. Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t do it. Nobody could break that record.
That is, except for Johnson.
And it may not be nearly as difficult as the single season rushing record that Adrian Peterson is trying to break that has been held by Eric Dickerson since 1984. Peterson has do to add over 45 yards to his average total per game in order to catch Dickerson, where as all Johnson has to do is continue his average and he will break the mark easily.
Johnson has 1,546 receiving yards entering Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals. He is 303 yards shy of breaking Rice’s single season mark, meaning he only needs to average hauling in 101 receiving yards per game over the final three weeks.
As of right now, Johnson averages 118.9 receiving yards per game. That would put him on pace to easily break Rice’s record that has stood for 17 seasons.
Count his teammates as wanting to do everything possible to give the Lions something to still root for this season, with the playoffs out of reach.
“We have to hang our hat on something this year,” center Dominic Raiola told The Associated Press. “I think it would be awesome for him to do it. I’d love to be able to say I was on the team and helped him do it.”
Of course, quarterback Matthew Stafford is Johnson’s teammate who can most help him break the record. The wide receiver is aware of how his teammates feel, and he is hopeful that he can do everything possible to break the record.
“It’s definitely something that I take joy in that my teammates are right behind me on this thing,” Johnson said. “They want me to get it as much as I want to get it.”
After facing the Cardinals this week, the Lions have two games against the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears. Both may still need to win those games in order to best position themselves for the postseason, but they could also both have as much clinched as possible, meaning the number of players played or rested could vary greatly.
That could determine whether or not Johnson is able to break Rice’s record.