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Lions WR Calvin Johnson has record-breaking game

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 23, 2012 at 12:06 am •  Published: December 23, 2012
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DETROIT (AP) — Calvin Johnson gave the Detroit Lions, and their fans, something to feel good about in a sour season.

In yet another loss, he had a record-breaking night.

Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes, playing his best early and late, to help the Atlanta Falcons lead from start to finish in a 31-18 victory over Detroit on Saturday night.

Johnson has been a bright spot during the losing streak and throughout a miserable season in the Motor City, surpassing Jerry Rice's NFL single-season yards receiving mark.

Johnson also became the only player with 100 yards receiving in eight straight games and the first with 10 receptions in four games in a row in league history. He had 11 receptions for 225 yards, giving him 1,892 this season with one game left. Rice had 1,848 for San Francisco in 1995,

After making the record-breaking catch in the fourth quarter, Johnson jogged over to the sideline and handed the football to his father.

"That was a very special moment," he said.

There haven't been many of those this season for the Lions, a season after they won 10 games and ended an 11-year postseason drought.

The Falcons (13-2) let the Lions pull within five points early in the fourth quarter, then took control for good on Ryan's fourth TD pass to wide-open tight end Michael Palmer in the fourth quarter and Matt Bryant's 20-yard field goal with 3:05 left that gave them a 15-point lead.

Atlanta got what it wanted, home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, and didn't mind Johnson had a milestone-filled night.

"We had defenses to stop Calvin, but we also knew the biggest thing was to get the win," Falcons cornerback Robert McClain said. "We have not peaked yet, we're just going to keep improving."

The Lions (4-11) have been relegated to playing for pride this month and that hasn't been going very well, losing seven straight games in what has become the league's longest active losing streak.

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