NEWS

Calvin Johnson proving critics wrong with another 2 touchdown game

Posted Oct 2, 2011

First Cris Carter. Then Rob Ryan. Who's the next person foolish enough to downplay the talents of Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson?

Whoever it is, will likely wind up eating his words, just like Carter and Ryan have had to do during the first four weeks of the NFL season.

Several weeks ago, Carter refused to put Johnson on his list of the league's top five receivers.

Last week Ryan, Dallas' defensive coordinator, said that Johnson would only be the third-best receiver on the Cowboys behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

Perhaps Ryan got a false sense of the Dallas receiving corps' ability by watching them work against the Cowboys' secondary that Johnson overwhelmed to the tune of eight catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in Detroit's thrilling 34-30 come-from-behind victory.

The easy-going Johnson refuses to get into a war of words with his detractors. He prefers to answer them with his play on the field. So far this season, he's been nothing short of spectacular.

"I don't pay attention, really," Johnson said after Sunday's game. "I hear about it from other people. It doesn't faze me. I just go out there and do what I gotta do."

He did admit that there's some extra motivation when he hears negative comments about his ability.

"Yeah," he said. "Especially to come out here on this big stage and do what we did. Especially after the comments they made, to go out here and beat them the way we did.

"It's big for us to start off 4-0. To come out clean in the first quarter of the season -- that was huge. We've still got a lot of stuff to clean up, though. The way we started the game the last two weeks -- that was really unacceptable."

The Lions have flirted with danger the last two games. They fell behind 20-0 at Minnesota last week and Sunday they trailed Dallas 27-3.

Both of Johnson's touchdown receptions Sunday came in the fourth quarter. The first was a 23-yarder that he gathered in despite triple coverag. It cut Dallas' lead to 30-24.

"It was a designed play to get the coverage to come to me in the first place but we didn't get the coverage we wanted," Johnson said. I saw Matt (quarterback Matthew Stafford) back there, he was looking my way and I just stuck my finger up like, 'throw it up,' and he threw it up to me."

Stafford gave a lot of the credit to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

"He drew it up early in the week and knew that if we get in this situation they're going to protect the first shot to Calvin," Stafford said. "It obviously didn't move to where we thought they might move on defense. Calvin just kind of looked at me and told me to throw it up. That's a good enough sign for me. He had good position. I threw a ball up there and he went and got it. It's just what he does."

On Johnson's two-yard reception for the winning touchdown, the Cowboys had 12 men on the field, but only one covering Johnson. That made it a no-brainer for Stafford.

"I was really surprised they came out there one-on-one off coverage," Stafford said. "Just a chance for the guy to go post up. I'm throwing it to him every time, four downs in a row. I believe in him that much and I think he knows I can put it there, too."

That was Johnson's fourth straight game with two touchdown reception. Only one other NFL receiver has accomplished that -- Cris Carter.

Maybe now that they share the record, Carter's opinion of Johnson will change.

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