Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman dubbed himself Optimus Prime last week because he planned to shut down Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron. And sure enough, Johnson had just three catches for 46 yards on Sunday. So Sherman was proud of himself afterward.
“I mean, you see his numbers – they speak for themselves,” Sherman said. “He was a non-factor. So, you know, that’s how that went.”
Sherman doesn’t deserve all the credit for Johnson’s disappointing day: Johnson had three dropped passes, including one in the end zone, and if Johnson had made those catches, Sherman wouldn’t have as much room to boast about how he covered Johnson.
And, of course, there’s the little matter of the Lions winning the game. Johnson wasn’t a major factor in the Lions’ victory, but second-year receiver Titus Young had the best game of his career, with nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had his best game of the season against Seattle’s secondary.
Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner said after the game that the Seahawks did exactly what they planned to do to contain Johnson, but the problem was they couldn’t contain everyone else.
“I thought before the game even started we were going to do OK against him,” Browner said. “But it’s the other guys that got off. We can’t focus on one player, because we tend to forget that they’ve got stars like Titus Young. . . . I thought we would match up well with [Johnson]. He’s a big guy. We’re big guys. It’s the little guys that we’ll have problems with, because they can get in and out of breaks faster than we do.”
And so while Optimus Prime is bragging about stopping Megatron, the Lions may have provided the blueprint for passing against the Seahawks’ secondary.