Is Calvin Johnson the best receiver in the NFL?
By: Athlon Sports | 10/3/11, 4:30 PM EDT
The Detroit Lions are 4-0 for the first time in 31 years thanks to a huge comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Lions and the Green Bay Packers are the NFL's lone remaining undefeated teams, and like the defending Super Bowl champions, the Lions have put a lot of points on the scoreboard these first four weeks.
Detroit is currently tied with New England for the second-most points per game (33.8). Detroit has scored 15 total touchdowns in its first four games, with nearly half of them, coming from one player — Calvin Johnson.
Johnson already has eight touchdowns this season. The wide receiver not only has two more touchdowns than any player, he is currently leading the entire NFL, kickers included, in scoring period. His Lions teammate, kicker Jason Hanson, is second with 45 points.
Johnson added to his TD total against the Cowboys with two TD catches in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner with less than two minutes left. In the process, Johnson made NFL history by becoming:
*2nd player in NFL history with at least 2 receiving TDs in four straight games within a single season (Cris Carter, 1995)
*1st player in NFL history with at least 2 receiving TDs in a team's first four games of a season
*Ties Bobby Walston's 1954 mark for most receiving TDs in a team's first four games of a season
Johnson has been consistent, with two receiving TDs in each of the Lions' first four games. At this pace, he would break LaDainian Tomlinson's single-season record for touchdowns with 32.
While it is highly unlikely that Johnson will break L.T.'s mark, he just may have a shot at the single-season mark for touchdowns by a wide receiver. That record is 23 and is currently shared by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and Randy Moss.
What is even more impressive regarding Johnson's record-setting start is how efficient he has been with his opportunities. Through the first four games Johnson has 24 receptions on 41 targets. He is tied for 11th in the league in receptions and tied for fourth in targets.
Eight of his 24 receptions have gone for scores, meaning 33 percent or one out of every three passes Johnson has caught this year have gone for touchdowns. The next-highest rate among the top 20 in receptions to this point is 13 percent, a mark shared by the Patriots' Wes Welker (5 TDs, 40 rec) and the Bills' Steve Johnson (3, 24).
Johnson was selected for his first Pro Bowl and was named second team All-Pro last season after posting 77 receptions for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns. With eight TDs already this season, Johnson is well on his way to earning first team All-Pro honors. Then again, what else would you expect for the NFL's no. 1 receiver?
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