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NFL notes: Calvin Johnson's 329-yard game leaves teammates amazed
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Calvin Johnson doesn't spend much time trying to call attention to himself.

Johnson's performance Sunday spoke loud and clear, of course. In a dazzling 329-yard effort against the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Lions standout fell just 7 yards shy of the NFL's single-game receiving record — and as usual, he seemed to take everything in stride after Detroit's 31-30 victory.

"It was definitely an aggressive mindset going into the game with the play calls and everything," Johnson said. "The whole week, it was that kind of mentality and it definitely carried over."

Teammate Nate Burleson, who sat out the game with an injury, was a bit more effusive.

"He's a living legend," Burleson said. "I'm not going to pat myself on the back but I feel like I've been telling everybody how great he is for a long time, ever since I got on the team. I'm just glad that everybody's able to share in moments like this."

The 28-year-old Johnson is in the prime of his career. He set an NFL record last season with 1,964 yards receiving, and on Sunday he nearly surpassed Flipper Anderson's single-game mark of 336 (Anderson, the father of University of Utah receiver Dres Anderson, needed overtime to reach his total in a 1989 game against New Orleans).

Against the Cowboys, Johnson made almost every type of catch imaginable. In the first quarter, the seventh-year pro turned a short slant into an 87-yard gain by making a couple Cowboys miss in the secondary. When the drive almost stalled anyway, Matthew Stafford found Johnson on a quick pass to the right for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

With the Cowboys leading 27-17 in the fourth quarter, Stafford threw deep over the middle, where the 6foot-5 "Megatron" outjumped two defenders for a 54-yard gain.

"The guy goes up and makes a freak-show catch. He does it all the time," Stafford said.

"The best thing about that dude is how humble he is and how much of a team player he is. I can't express it enough to you guys. I say it, you guys don't really know it because you're not in the locker room with him."

Johnson's 14th and final catch of the day put the Lions in position to win the game. He beat one defender and held onto the ball while being hit hard by another. The 22-yard gain gave Detroit the ball at the Dallas 1-yard line, and Stafford's quarterback sneak with 12 seconds left gave the Lions the win.

"Shoot, I'm going to get hit, so I might as well make the catch," Johnson said. "I've been in that situation plenty of times where I didn't come down with it. I was like, 'Shoot, you're going to get hit either way, so you might as well make it.'"

Johnson already has five 200-yard receiving games in his career, tying Hall of Famer Lance Alworth's record.

Around the league

Texans • Quarterback Case Keenum will start at quarterback in place of a healthy Matt Schaub when Houston hosts division foe Indianapolis on Sunday night, coach Gary Kubiak announced. Keenum made his first start on Oct. 20 when the Texans lost 17-16 to Kansas City.

Broncos • Linebacker Von Miller has agreed to perform 24 hours of community service and take a driving course before Jan. 23, at which time his lawyer will enter guilty pleas for minor traffic violations in Arapahoe County.

Browns • Return specialist Travis Benjamin tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament in Sunday's loss at Kansas City and will miss the remainder of the season.

Around the league

Texans • Quarterback Case Keenum will start at quarterback in place of a healthy Matt Schaub when Houston hosts division foe Indianapolis on Sunday night, coach Gary Kubiak announced. Keenum made his first start on Oct. 20 when the Texans lost 17-16 to Kansas City.

Broncos • Linebacker Von Miller has agreed to perform 24 hours of community service and take a driving course before Jan. 23, at which time his lawyer will enter guilty pleas for minor traffic violations in Arapahoe County.

Browns • Return specialist Travis Benjamin tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament in Sunday's loss at Kansas City and will miss the remainder of the season.

Meriweather vs. Marshall

After saying he's going to "take peoples' knees out" to avoid another suspension for hits to the head, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather struck another blow — declaring that "people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league."

Meriweather's comments were a retort referencing the checkered domestic violence past of Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who last week suggested that players such as Meriweather should perhaps be "taken out of the game completely" to make the game safer.

"Everybody got their opinion," Meriweather said Monday. "If he feel like, you know, I need to be kicked out of the league, I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too. You tell me who you'd rather have — somebody who plays aggressive on the field, or somebody who beat up their girlfriend?"

Marshall's career has occasionally been overshadowed by off-the-field troubles, including multiple arrests following confrontations with a girlfriend when he was playing for the Denver Broncos. None of the arrests led to a conviction.

Marshall declined comment. —

NFL schedule

Thursday

Cincinnati at Miami, 6:25 p.m., NFL Network

Sunday

Minnesota at Dallas, 11 a.m.

Tennessee at St. Louis, 11 a.m.

Atlanta at Carolina, 11 a.m.

New Orleans at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.

Kansas City at Buffalo, 11 a.m.

San Diego at Washington, 11 a.m.

Philadelphia at Oakland, 2:05 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Seattle, 2:05 p.m.

Baltimore at Cleveland, 2:25 p.m.

Pittsburgh at New England, 2:25 p.m.

Indianapolis at Houston, 6:30 p.m.

Open: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, N.Y. Giants, San Francisco

Monday

Chicago at Green Bay, 6:40 p.m., ESPN

NFL notes • Detroit receiver misses record by just seven yards.
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