Jimmy Smith said Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is the most impressive athlete hes ever played against. Cary Williams called him a freak of nature.
Johnson, aka Megatron, ran past, above and around the Ravens secondary as the Lions beat the Ravens, 27-12, at M&T Bank Stadium Friday night in the Ravens second preseason game.
Johnson, the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder, finished the game with five catches for 111 yards in a little more than one quarter of work. He did most of his damage on the Lions first drive of the second quarter.
With the Lions facing first down at their own 7-yard line, Johnson blew past Williams and hauled in a 57-yard completion from quarterback Matthew Stafford down the left sideline. Two plays later, he made an 8-yard reception, and two plays later, he caught an 18-yard touchdown pass, jumping up and grabbing the ball from right above Jimmy Smiths helmet in the corner of the end zone.
You could throw the ball anywhere, and Johnson will go up and get it, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said.
Added linebacker Ray Lewis: Listen now. Youre talking about a person who probably should be running track, but he chose football. He is a mismatch problem for a lot of people. The bottom line is youve just got to play him and make him earn his check. Today, he earned his money.
Johnson last year had 96 catches for a league-best 1,681 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches. He parlayed that into an eight-year, 132 million deal with the Lions this past offseason that made him the highest-paid receiver in the league.
Hes definitely a freak of nature, Williams said, 6 (foot) 5, 4.3 speed that can run, jump. Ive never seen it. Hes an outstanding player, and theres a reason why hes being paid 100 million.
Fortunately for the Ravens, they wont see it again during the regular season. But the Ravens know they need to tighten up a secondary that has been roughed up by elite receivers two weeks in a row now in the preseason first by Atlantas Julio Jones (6 catches, 109 yards), and now by Johnson. This after cornerback Lardarius Webb in the offseason touted the Ravens as the best secondary in the league.
We say that we want to be the best, but we have to come out and play like were the best, Webb said after the game. It all starts in practice. I guarantee you that when we go back to practice, were going to work like were playing four quarters. Thats what we want to be. We want to be on top.