Fuller respects Lions’ ‘big’ receiver Calvin Johnson

SHARE Fuller respects Lions’ ‘big’ receiver Calvin Johnson

DETROIT — Wide receiver Calvin Johnson had himself a feast against the Bears’ young secondary, catching 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the Detroit Lions’ 34-17 victory at Ford Field.

“He’s just so big,” rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller said. “Just an overall good receiver.”

With Charles Tillman on injured reserve, Fuller shadowed Johnson at times. But the Bears also went to their typical zone coverages, especially cover-2.

None of it surprised or slowed Johnson, who became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 receiving yards Thursday.

“For the most part, the Bears are who they are,” said Johnson, who needed 115 games to reach his milestone. “They are going to play what they play, and that’s just how they’ve been historically.”

Johnson caught his first touchdown, a 25-yarder on third-and-seven, between Fuller and rookie Brock Vereen, one the Bears’ two deep safeties on the play. Johnson had lined up in the slot over second-year nickel back Demontre Hurst, who tried to impede his route.

“[Quarterback Matthew Stafford] threw it up, and [Johnson] just went and got it,” Hurst said.

But “that’s 100 percent me; I’ve got to make that play,” Vereen said. “You have to step up to the challenge.”

Fuller, meanwhile, was one-on-one against Johnson on his six-yard touchdown catch, a fade to the corner of the end zone, in the last minute of the first half.

“Good ball, good catch,” Fuller said. “I can learn from that just as far as positioning and how to play it.”

A missed opportunity

With the Lions backed up on their 11-yard line in the third quarter, Hurst nearly had an interception — at the very least a pass breakup — but he missed the pass by Stafford. It turned into a six-yard catch by wide receiver Golden Tate on third-and-four and eventually a 95-yard touchdown drive.

“[The pass] was pretty much looking at me dead in the face,” Hurst said. “I did my job. I just didn’t make the play.

“I was going for the pick, and it ended up in his hands. . . . If I make the play, we’re off the field.”

Marshall plays hurt

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s injured left ankle became problematic early against the Lions. He came off after the Bears’ first play from scrimmage and briefly met with trainers. It would bother him throughout as he finished with six catches on 11 targets for 42 yards.

“An ankle injury is one of those things you’ve got to deal with,” said Marshall, who injured his ankle in the Bears’ 55-14 loss Nov. 9 against the Packers. “It’s hard to get it 100 percent, so it’s one of those things.

“I just wish I could have helped the team out a little more, so this one’s really tough.”

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns

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