Lions receiver Calvin Johnson just finished one of the greatest seasons by a wide receiver in NFL history.
He recorded 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns – all career highs – becoming only the third player in league history with at least 95 catches, 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season.
His receiving yards are the seventh-highest total in NFL history and the most since Rams receiver Torry Holt had 1,696 in 2003.
Johnson finished with three 200-yard receiving games in the Lions’ last four games, including a 211-yard, two-touchdown performance in the playoff loss to the Saints.
He made his second straight Pro Bowl, though he isn’t playing because of injury, and was nearly unanimously named All-Pro.
Johnson’s numbers made him an easy vote by his teammates for the Bobby Layne Offensive MVP Award.
“This kid has an affection and a deep love for wanting to be the best,” said Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson. “He’s the first one in the classroom, the first one to ask questions, he’s one of the last guys to leave off the field and he’s first in every drill at practice. He sets the tempo each and every day and when the rest of the guys see that from a Pro Bowl player, they fall into line.”
Only Johnson and former Vikings receiver Randy Moss have ever registered 1,600-plus yards and 16-plus touchdowns in a single season.
“Here’s the deal,” Jefferson said. “Calvin is just entering into the prime of his career. The things you saw Calvin do this year, the next five years, you’re going to see even better things coming. You are going to see even more explosion out of this guy and it’s going to be scary. I think this guy is rewriting the books.”
This wasn’t just one of those breakout seasons for Johnson, either. He’s just the sixth player in league history with 45 touchdowns and 5,500 yards through his first five seasons.
The Lions won 10 games for the first time since 1995 and advanced to their first playoffs since 1999, in part, because of a 5-0 record to begin the season. During that stretch, Johnson had nine total touchdowns – two each in the first four games.
The offensive MVP award is given in memory of quarterback Bobby Layne, who sparked the Lions to three NFL Championships and four Western Division titles during the 1950s, including back-to-back championships in 1952 and 1953. He established virtually every career passing record, including attempts (2,193), completions (1,074), yardage (15,710) and touchdown passes (118). Layne was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
Tags: Bobby Layne, Calvin Johnson, Shawn Jefferson
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »