x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

NFL: Johnson claims record but Falcons victory secures playoff advantage

The man dubbed Megatron broke Jerry Rice's 17-year record for most receiving yards but his efforts were not enough to prevent Atlanta recording a 31-18 win over Detroit.

Detroit Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson finds a way between Atlanta's Chris Hope and Dunta Robinson.
Detroit Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson finds a way between Atlanta's Chris Hope and Dunta Robinson.

Calvin Johnson set a new NFL single-season receiving record - but it was the Atlanta Falcons who recorded a 31-18 win over the Detroit Lions to assure them of home-field advantage through the NFC play-offs.

Quarterback Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes as the visiting Falcons, who last week walloped the Super Bowl champion New York Giants 34-0, improved their National Football League-leading record to 13-2.

Johnson at least gave the Detroit fans something to cheer about as he broke the record for most receiving yards in a season.

Serenaded by chants of "Calvin, Calvin," Johnson caught 11 passes for 225 yards from quarterback Matthew Stafford to finish the game with 1,892 yards.

That eclipsed the 1,848 yards set by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.

Atlanta ran up a 21-6 lead by intermission on a trio of scoring strikes by Ryan, who finished the game with a splendid completion line of 25-of-32 for 279 yards.

The Lions clawed back, closing to within 21-16 early in the fourth quarter before the Falcons responded with an 11-play, 78-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown flip from Ryan to tight end Michael Palmer to restore their cushion.

Ryan, who also hit speedy receiver Julio Jones in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown connection in the second quarter, raised his touchdown total to 31 for the season.

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