Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has 1,428 receiving yards this season, putting him on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single-season record of 1,848 yards, set in 1995. But the Lions are eyeing an even bigger number.
Detroit offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the team’s website that it’s completely realistic that Johnson could become the first player in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards in a season.
“That receiving number . . . we’re not about individuals, we’re not trying to put a game plan around guys getting individual records, but certainly would love to see it,” Linehan said of Johnson reaching 2,000 yards. “Nobody better than Calvin to be able to have an opportunity to help our team win while he’s getting in position to maybe break history.”
Johnson needs 572 yards over the final four games of the season to get to 2,000, and that’s certainly not out of the question, considering that he has 661 yards in the Lions’ last four games. Johnson will probably get even more passes than usual thrown his way over the final four games of the season, not because the Lions are trying to get him the record but because they’re running out of options: The Lions’ second, third and fourth receivers are all done for the season, with Nate Burleson suffering a broken leg, Ryan Broyles suffering a torn ACL and Titus Young suffering from being a pain in the butt whom the coaching staff has decided to send home for the rest of the year.
Of course, that also means opposing defenses can focus even more on stopping Johnson. And when the offensive coordinator is openly talking about getting Johnson record-breaking numbers, that provides that much more motivation for the other team’s defense to stop it. But opposing defenses are already doing everything they can to stop Johnson, and in his last 16 games, he has 2,199 yards, including six 150-yard games. It’s entirely reasonable to think Johnson could average 150 yards a game for the next four games, which would put him over 2,000. With room to spare.