| 4 years ago||
Jon Gruden: "They dont keep a statistic for meaningless yardage, Calvin Johnson record tarnished"
"Jerry Rice and the 49ers were in playoff contention"
ESPN's Jon Gruden: Calvin Johnson's record tarnished by 'meaningless' yards in Detroit Lions' losing season
As Calvin Johnson passed Jerry Rice in the NFL record books Saturday night, ESPN's Jon Gruden wondered aloud in if the Detroit Lions' losing record does anything to "tarnish" the wide receiver's accomplishment.
With 11 catches for 225 yards in the Lions' 31-18 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Johnson passed Rice's single-season receiving mark, upping his total 1,892.
But Detroit also lost its seventh consecutive game and dropped to 4-11, one season after finishing 10-6 and going to the playoffs.
Johnson's record-breaking catch came in the fourth quarter, with the Lions down by 15 points. He added a 21-yard grab on Detroit's final drive while down 13.
"They don't keep a record of meaningless yards, and these are meaningless yards," Gruden said. "I hate to say it, but they are."
Gruden was referring to Johnson -- and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford -- piling up some statistics as the Lions pack on the losses.
Detroit entered the game with the NFL's No. 1 passing offense, and Johnson now needs just 102 yards next week against Chicago to crack 2,000 yards.
But that's not translating into victories, leaving Gruden to openly wonder if Rice's 1995 season was more important because the 49ers went 11-5 and won the NFC West.
Consider these statistics, courtesy of pro-football-reference.com:
-- Entering Saturday, Johnson led the NFL with 597 receiving yards (on 53 catches) with his team trailing by at least nine points. Add 108 yards (on six catches) to that total after the loss to Atlanta.
-- Adding all 225 from Saturday vs. the Falcons, Johnson leads the NFL with 1,254 yards when his team is trailing at all. That means 66 percent of Johnson's receiving yards have come with the Lions behind.
-- Johnson leads the NFL with 570 receiving yards with his team trailing in the fourth quarter. Jacksonville's Cecil Shorts is second with 339.
Not sure if those numbers make Johnson's record "meaningless," but it does mean the Lions are trailing in games, a lot. And when teams have double-digit fourth-quarter leads against Detroit, aren't their defenses in softer coverage?
Johnson entered Saturday night 14th in the NFL in receiving yardage in the first quarter, behind guys like Chris Givens and T.Y. Hilton.
That doesn't mean Johnson's solely to blame. But let's also be realistic about the record: It's a lone bright spot in a dismal season in Detroit.
Even Gruden and Lions fans should agree on that one.
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http://www.mlive.com/lion .. in_johnso.html
Last edited by Steve; 12-23-2012 at 01:26 PM..