Johnson continued his assault on the record books with 11 catches for 225 yards, breaking the single-season receiving record of 1,848 yards set by Rice in 1995. Johnson eclipsed the mark with a 26-yard catch late in the fourth quarter and now has 1,892 on the season.
But it still wasn’t enough to avoid a 31-18 defeat at the hands of the Falcons Saturday night.
The Lions and Falcons are on different ends of the NFL spectrum.
The Falcons were looking to secure home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win Saturday night in Detroit.
The Lions, well, they were playing for pride and looking to snap a six-game losing skid in the process.
Against a team like the Falcons (13-2), the Lions couldn’t afford to have the same kinds of mistakes that have plagued them all season:
- Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns
- Failing to get the key stop of defense late in games
All of them reared their ugly heads Saturday night at Ford Field.
The Falcons turned two Detroit fumbles and an interception into 17 points and the Lions had to settle for three
“17 points. We were minus-three in the game and 17 points off turnovers,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after the game. “Fumble early, fumble – had another one in the first half – and then threw an interception. Other than Calvin Johnson, that’s the story of this game.” All of it totaled up to a loss for the Lions.
The Falcons jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead, but the Lions chipped away at it and got as close as 21-16 with 13:26 left in the fourth quarter. But as they’ve done too many times this season, the defense couldn’t come up with the crucial stop on the Falcons next possession.
Atlanta marched 78 yards on 11 plays, milking more than six minutes off the clock, and scoring on a 1-yard pass from quarterback Matt Ryan to tight end Michael Palmer.
They added a late field goal following a
"Yeah, there were a couple of times where we had some chances and had some opportunities and just didn't get it done,” Stafford said. “A couple plays here, a couple plays there. Obviously we turned the ball over after some big chunk plays and that hurt us. We didn't get any turnovers on defense so we lost that battle.”
It was yet another loss in a disappointing season for the Lions (4-11), but at least the Ford Field crowd – and a national television audience – was entertained by Johnson.
Stafford had a nice night, too. He was 37-of-56 passing for 443 yards, but failed to throw for a touchdown, which broke a 16-year NFL record set by Joe Montana for the most yards in a game without a touchdown pass.
The Lions out-gained the Falcons 522 yards to 344, but it was Atlanta that came up with the big plays on offense and the key stops on defense.
Those continue to elude the Lions.