Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/20/12

DETROIT - AUGUST 28: Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on August 28, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Calvin Johnson was 10 years old when Jerry Rice set the NFL record in 1995 for receiving yards in a season. Johnson says he's never met Rice, never talked to him and really hasn't gone back to study tape of the indisputable greatest receiver in football history. But with 182 yards in the Detroit Lions' final two games, Johnson will surpass Rice's single-season mark. Rice has come out and praised the man they call "Megatron," but Rice has also made it clear that deep down he doesn't want to see the record broken. "Who would?" Johnson said. "You've got NFL records, those are big." What Rice accomplished that season helped the San Francisco 49ers to an 11-5 record and a division championship. He caught 122 passes for 1,848 yards and 15 touchdowns. The circumstances are much different for Johnson. The Lions are in the midst of a terribly disappointing 4-10 season heading into Saturday night's game against Atlanta at Ford Field in Detroit. Johnson has 106 catches for 1,667 yards, but only five touchdowns. Although Johnson acknowledges he'll take a lot of pride in setting the record, it would be much more enjoyable for him if the team was having success, too. "The expectation we had on the year overshadows a lot of things, especially some individual accomplishments," Johnson said. With just with 20 more yards, Johnson will break Herman Moore's team record. Moore had 1,686 yards for the Lions in '95, the same year as Rice's feat. Rice appeared Wednesday on ESPN's NFL Live show to discuss Johnson's pursuit. "You know, you really don't want anyone to break your record," Rice said. "But this guy, he's a hard worker and he knows how to make plays. The guy's unstoppable. He's a playmaker. He knows how to run routes. He can out-jump you. He's explosive downfield. "So I'll be the first one to congratulate him ... but, no, I don't want him to break it." Rice owns nearly every NFL receiving record known to man, including career receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and touchdown catches (197). Johnson, 27 and in his sixth NFL season, has 472 receptions for 7,539 yards and 54 touchdowns. "I'll give you one, but you stay away from the rest of my records," Rice said, half-jokingly, as if he was talking directly to Johnson during the TV interview. Johnson's response: "Hey, I appreciate it. I'll take whatever I can get." Asked whether he considers Rice the best receiver ever, Johnson said, "It's hard to argue that." Opponents are doing everything in their power to try to contain Johnson -- who is 6-foot-5, 236 pounds -- but it's just not working. He could become the first player in NFL history with eight consecutive 100-yard receiving games if he reaches 100 again this week. During this seven-game stretch, Johnson has totaled 65 receptions for 1,029 yards and four touchdowns. Last Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals sometimes lined up two defenders on Johnson right at the line of scrimmage, in what's referred to as a "vice" coverage. It was similar to how teams try to block the outside gunners sprinting down field to cover punts. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan could remember seeing that type of coverage only one other time, a decade ago when he was offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. He said Green Bay used a similar scheme to try to hold down Randy Moss. "It definitely discourages your ability to get a guy the ball," Linehan said. Nevertheless, Johnson found a way to make 10 catches for 121 yards against the Cardinals. The Lions expect that the Falcons could use the same approach. Atlanta has a standout secondary, including two starting safeties, Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, who have combined for 10 interceptions. "We saw the vice on third down (against Arizona)," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "We may see it every snap this week. Every week is a new invention in coverage (on Johnson). I'm kind of used to it. I kind of expect that kind of stuff." No matter what opponents try, it just keeps bringing out the competitor in Johnson. "It's a will, it's an attitude, it's a mentality you've got to have," said Johnson, signed to an eight-year, 132-million contract last March. "You love to compete against the best. Whatever they throw at you, you're willing to go up and try to beat it." While the yardage keeps piling up, Johnson's touchdown total has declined significantly from 16 a year ago, partly because he's been tackled six times at the 1-yard line. It even happened Thursday during practice. According to coach Jim Schwartz, running back Mikel Leshoure went up to Johnson and said, smiling, "I'll take it from here." "As long as we get the touchdown, it doesn't bother him," Schwartz said of Johnson, considered one of the more unselfish, humble superstars around. "I dare say if we were able to win the last two games and he didn't get the record, he would still be very content and very happy that we won those two games. "That's why we signed him to a long-term deal. Not just his talent on the field but how good a guy he is."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker