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Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) pulls in a 54-yard reception as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) and Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jeff Heath (38) defends in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (DUANE BURLESON/AP)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) pulls in a 54-yard reception as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) and Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jeff Heath (38) defends in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (DUANE BURLESON/AP)

The Lions roar

Week 8 performances put NFL wide receivers in spotlight Add to ...

For all the divas among NFL receivers, and there are plenty of them, there are just as many difference makers.

They showed themselves in impressive and, in Calvin Johnson’s case, incredible form on Sunday. Megatron’s meganumbers were so astounding that several Dallas defensive backs could do little more than shrug at how he dominated them in a scintillating 31-30 Lions victory.

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Brandon Carr, a good cornerback who was left in single coverage on Johnson far too often in Dallas’s game plan, admitted he was “licking my wounds” after being torched all day.

“He had his way,” Carr said after Megatron mauled the Cowboys for 14 catches for 329 yards, the second-most ever for a receiver in an NFL game. “He is an incredible player with all the ability in the world. He had the hot hand and his quarterback kept feeding him. And, we couldn’t find a way to keep him from rolling.”

Receivers throughout the league put in some of the most impressive performances in recent memory. Even on the other side at Ford Field was a dynamic (and definitely a diva, unlike Johnson) wideout in Dez Bryant, who had only three catches, but for 72 yards, with two TDs. His 24-yard average was higher than Johnson’s 23.5. Bryant drew attention, however, when cameras showed him angrily gesticulating on the sideline while his team blew a late lead.

“I’m passionate about this game, and I’m passionate about winning. My passion is always positive,” Bryant said. “People who have a problem with me are the people that don’t understand what is going on. The media and people who think I’m a problem – they don’t know what they are seeing.”

Elsewhere in the league:

Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson, the lone accomplished wideout still healthy for the Packers, had seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-31 win over Minnesota. He played in the slot, rare for him, as well as outside.

“It worked out well,” Nelson said. “Got some good looks and open plays.”

Cincinnati’s Marvin Jones, a second-year wideout from California who previously had 16 catches this year and all of 18 in 2012, and Bengals star A.J. Green shined against the Jets. Jones made eight catches for 122 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 49-9 rout. The four TD catches are the most in a single game in Bengals history and the most in an NFL game since Nov. 18, 2007, when Randy Moss and Terrell Owens each had four.

Green grabbed only three throws from Andy Dalton, but gained 115 yards on them.

“I think people will see that now we have the players that can do it and help a superstar like A.J.,” Jones said.

Atlanta’s Harry Douglas, who has stepped up in the absence of standouts Julio Jones and Roddy White, added 12 catches for 121 yards in a loss at Arizona to his seven catches for a career-best 149 yards the previous week in a win over Tampa Bay. Douglas is a perfect example of a third receiver flourishing when made the top target. In today’s NFL, that happens more often than you might think, whether it’s for wideouts or tight ends.

Kenny Stills, a New Orleans rookie who has come on in recent weeks and had three catches for 129 yards, including touchdowns of 69 and 42 yards, in a 35-17 win over Buffalo. Stills, a fifth-round pick from Oklahoma, is just what Drew Brees and the Saints need: another game-breaker on offence.

 

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