While watching the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons -- the game I told myself I wasn't going to watch -- I couldn't help but realize just how Calvin Johnson's pursuit of history blinded Lions fans.
All of the individual records (and he set four) mean nothing when a team fails to compete.
There is nothing wrong with giving Megatron the respect he deserves. But remember, breaking Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yards record Saturday in a 31-18 home loss to the Falcons isn't exactly cause to jump for joy.
Jump for lukewarm happiness, but not joy.
The Lions lost their 11th game of the year. Perhaps indicative of the way things have shaken out for the Lions this miserable season, Matthew Stafford -- who broke Bobby Layne's career-completion record with Detroit -- actually threw an interception in the fourth quarter while attempting to get Johnson the four yards needed at the time to pass Rice.
Johnson broke the record on a 26-yard rout up the left side of the field (1,892 yards total, 11 catches, 225 yards vs. Falcons).
Atlanta (13-2) is going to the playoffs and has the best record in the NFC. The Lions made the playoffs in 2011 with a 10-6 record, but are just 4-11 this time around. It's been a joke of year, marred by close losses, constant miscues, disciplinary issues and pure ignorance in its highest possible form.
Johnson's record gave Lions followers something to look forward to. Even other pros enjoyed watching Johnson shoot for history.
"He's one of the nicest human beings I've ever met. It couldn't have happened to a better person," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said during his post-game interview, adding that he was "a fan" of Johnson.
Ryan has a couple of dangerous wideouts to throw passes to in Julio Jones and Roddy White. They're going to the playoffs. Megatron and the Lions can be "fans" of Atlanta when it makes a push toward the Super Bowl.
"It's a huge accomplishment to take the record from the great Jerry (Rice)," Johnson said in a post-game interview, later adding "(it was) unfortunate because of our season, but you can't take that moment (breaking record) away."
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