Calvin Johnson Career Stats
Jerry Rice once sawed a cast off of his knee to return from an ACL injury in rapid fashion. His strong work ethic, high football IQ and crisp route running are why many analysts refer to him as the best all-time. But Calvin Johnson hauled in 122 receptions for 1, 964 yards last season, and he’s not too shabby, either.
No receiver in NFL history has been able to take over a game like Rice and Johnson. Opposing defenses, at times, focused their entire coverages on these two game-changers—in an attempt to mitigate their effectiveness—but it rarely worked.
While the two receivers are similar in some ways, they differ in many others. They come from different backgrounds, played on teams with completely different playing styles and have different physical makeups. Johnson has the benefit of playing in a “passing league” era, but Rice was lucky to have had two Hall of Fame quarterbacks throwing him the football (Joe Montana, Steve Young).
They do, however, have something important in common: They possess all NFL receiving records (except TDs, held by Randy Moss [23 in 2007], which no one may ever break). And let’s not forget, in Week 8, Johnson had 329 receiving yards on 14 catches against the Dallas Cowboys, seven yards shy of the record. Given the physical nature and caliber of today’s defensive backs, that’s almost unfathomable.
But who’s the G.O.A.T.?
Some will make the case for Randy Moss, Chris Carter or even Michael Irvin to be in the top two discussion, but I’m not buying it. Rice and Johnson are more dynamic, consistent and well-rounded. Hell, even Pro Football Reference refers to J.R. as on his player page, and those guys are pretty damn intelligent.
Bleacher Report’s Dylan MacNamara is a former standout receiver and knows a thing or two about how to play the position. He weighed in on the subject:
I dunno. JR is the GOAT to me and it’s not close, to this pt.. Not even sure Megatron is the best WR in NFL right now (Gordon)
— Dylan MacNamara (@DylanMacNamara)
Megatron is certainly more physically dominant than Rice, but he’s not the receiver Jerry was in his prime, which was 14 years
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