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Calvin Johnson makes history -- and a fool of Cowboys’ Rob Ryan

October 3, 2011 |  8:13 am

Calvin Johnson would be the third best wide receiver on the team if he played for Dallas? Wonder whether Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wants to take back that comment he made last week,  after the fourth quarter of the Dallas' 34-30 loss to Johnson's Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Johnson caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from quarterback Matthew Stafford to help spark the Lions to their second straight dramatic comeback victory. He joined Cris Carter as the only players in NFL history with two touchdown catches in four straight games -- and is the only player to do it in the first four games of a season.

The Lions trailed 27-3 early in the third quarter and 30-17 going into the fourth. Johnson reached over three defenders for a 23-yard touchdown at the 13:37 mark to trim the deficit to 30-24 and made the game-winning catch from two yards out -- against tight coverage with 12 Cowboys defenders on the field -- with 1:39 remaining.

"He got a lot of respect for him for not being the best receiver on their team," Stafford said of Johnson. Ryan "throws a couple of guys on him here and there."

A week earlier, the Lions turned a 20-point halftime deficit into a 26-23 overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Both comeback victories have come on the road for the Lions, who now have a club-record five-game road winning streak. They also have won eight straight regular-season games, best in the NFL right now, and are one of only two remaining undefeated teams.

Still, Johnson knows the Lions are playing with fire by depending on late rallies to win games. "We still have a lot of stuff to clean up," said Johnson, who finished with eight catches for 96 yards against Dallas. "The way we've started the last two weeks, that's really unacceptable."

In fairness to Ryan, a handful of Cowboys had good receiving numbers as well. Dez Bryant had three catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns, Jason Witten made eight catches for 94 yards and one touchdown, and Laurent Robinson had seven catches for 116 yards.

But Johnson appeared to be second to none when it mattered the most.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Calvin Johnson scores a touchdown with a catch over Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman late in the fourth quarter. Credit: Khampha Bouaphanh / Fort Worth Star-Telegram / MCT