Among the many mistakes that helped the Lions fall to the Ravens 18-16 on Monday night were a pair of first-half drops by wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The drops led to punts instead of points that the Lions desperately needed. Johnson said after the game that he didn’t do a good enough job of looking the ball all the way into his hands and that he needs to stay on it one more second. His coach said it was just a reminder that, despite the nickname from the Transformers and the otherworldly plays we’ve become accustomed to seeing, Johnson is still a human being.
“It falls into, they’re human beings. I mean, as much as we say ‘Megatron’ and things like that, there’s still a human element to this game, and you’re not going to catch every single one; every single pass isn’t going to be perfect,” Jim Schwartz said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We didn’t play perfect in any phase of the game. No team ever does. But we didn’t make enough plays to win.”
Birkett writes that Johnson has had an “uncharacteristic” issue with drops this season. That’s not quite accurate, though. Stats Inc. credits Johnson with eight drops on 152 targets, a percentage that’s a bit lower than last year’s 14 drops on 205 targets.
Johnson’s drops were costly on Monday, but in the bigger picture they were just part of the normal course of things for a player targeted as frequently as Johnson is targeted by the Lions.