Historically, players who are featured on the cover of the “Madden NFL” franchise experience significant drops in their offensive production. NFL.com is tracking the performance of Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions over the course of the 2012 season because we believe Johnson will debunk the Madden curse.
It’s week 13, and the Detroit Lions badly needed a win against the resurgent Indianapolis Colts to keep any hope of a trip to the playoffs alive.
Let’s see if Megatron and co. brought their A-game.
The Lions receive the opening kick-off and Matthew Stafford immediately finds Calvin Johnson for a gain of 11 yards on the first play of the game.
The drive stalled after a couple of incompletions and the Lions were forced to punt.
Ndamukong Suh welcomed Andrew Luck to Ford Field by sacking him on the Colts first offensive play. The Colts weren’t able to overcome that setback and punted the ball back to the Lions.
Time for Calvin Johnson to get in gear.
Stafford quickly finds Johnson on 2nd down for a few yards.
And again on 3rd down for 14 more.
Stafford was pressured on the next third down, and missed an open Johnson.
The Lions settled for a Jason Hanson field goal. 3-0, Lions.
After a long pass to T.Y. Hilton, Luck found Donnie Avery for a a 17-yard touchdown.
Tony Scheffler hauled in a 39-yard pass from Stafford to set up this touchdown to Brandon Pettigrew to give the Lions back the lead.
Calvin Johnson first quarter stats – 4 catches, 34 yards.
The Stafford-Johnson connection stayed hot in the second quarter, as Johnson reeled in this impressive one-handed catch.
Calling Megatron a “human highlight reel” might be an understatement.
After a Mikel Leshoure touchdown, the Lions extended their lead to 17-7.
The Lions took over again after a Colts punt. Colts defensive back Darius Butler recovers to knock away what would have been another monster gain for Johnson.
Later in the quarter, the Colts respond with a touchdown of their own, this one to Coby Fleener.
Stafford and the Lions offense weren’t able to move the ball and were forced to punt. However, an interception by Drayton Florence puts the ball back in Stafford’s hands, but the Lions were unable to find the endzone.
Instead, another Jason Hanson field goal makes it a 20-14 lead for Detroit.
Megatron had been quiet the last few drives… so Stafford went to him on the first play of the next Lions possession for a gain of six.
Never a bad idea to put the ball in this guys hands. Good things tend to happen.
Stafford tried to find Johnson deep yet again, but didn’t connect. That set up Jason Hanson’s third field goal of the first half, a booming 52 yarder.
At age 42, Hanson shows the young guys he’s still got it.
Andrew Luck had the Colts driving, but threw a costly interception to Don Carey.
Time for the big guy to go back to work.
Just as things got rolling for the Lions, Stafford turns the ball right back over to the Colts. Congrats to Robert Mathis on his first career interception.
Luck wasn’t able to put together a scoring drive, so the Lions went into half-time with a 23-14 lead.
Calvin Johnson first half stats – 8 catches for 84 yards.
The Colts came out firing to start the second half, marching right down the field and capping off the drive with a Vick Ballard 11-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing Lions drive, Calvin Johnson eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the 7th time this year.
You can slow him down, but you can’t stop him.
After a few punts by both teams, the Lions needed to get things going. Can you guess who they looked to?
If you guessed Megatron, you’d be right. He picks up 11 and a first down with this leaping grab.
A few plays later, Stafford finds Johnson deep for this 46-yard sliding touchdown.
With his 12th grab of the day, Johnson makes it the fifth straight game with over 125 receiving yards.
Stafford and Johnson picked things up right where they left off with an 8-yard completion on their first possession of the 4th quarter. The catch marked a new career high of 13 in a single game for Johnson.
Stafford over threw Johnson on the next play, for what could have been another monster touchdown.
On another fourth quarter drive, after Joique Bell ripped off a 67-yard run, Jason Hanson kicked his fourth field goal of the day to give the Lions a 33-21 lead.
Don Carey grabbed his second interception of Andrew Luck, thwarting the Colts subsequent drive.
But the rookie answered right back with this 42-yard bomb to LaVon Brazill.
The Lions managed to run down the clock to 1:14 before punting it back to Andrew Luck.
After his career day, Megatron had to wait and see if his defense could hold on to the win.
Luck finds Wayve for 27 yards on 3rd and 1. He follows it up with a 16-yard scamper.
Luck tried to find Reggie Wayne in the back of the end zone, but Jacob Lacey knocked away what would be the game-winning touchdown.
It was a close call. So close, in fact, that Matthew Stafford couldn’t bear to watch.
4th and 10 from the 14-yard line, and Andrew Luck hooks up with Donnie Avery for the game-winning touchdown as time expires.
What. A. Drive.
Final score: 35-33, Colts
Despite Calvin Johnson’s best efforts, the Lions fell short and have made a trip to the playoffs all the more unlikely. Johnson finished the day with a career high 13 catches, for 171 yards and a touchdown. The only silver-lining is that Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season is very much within Megatron’s reach with four games still to play.