What Madden Curse? Calvin Johnson Chases Rice's Yardage Mark

Eric EvansCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2012

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02:  Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions catches the ball in front of Vontae Davis #23 of the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field on December 2, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions' season has not panned out quite liked they hoped it would. But while the team is struggling to a 4-8 record, their star receiver is enjoying a season that could end up at the top of the record books.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson recorded his fifth straight game of over 125 yards receiving in the Lions' 35-33 loss to the Colts on Sunday. That streak ties an NFL record set in 1966 by Pat Studstill of the Lions. Johnson finished Sunday's game with 171 yards on 13 catches and a touchdown.

After recording just one touchdown in his first eight games of the season, many began to talk of the "Madden Curse," in which the player that is placed on the cover of the John Madden video football game ends up hurt or struggling that season. Johnson was selected for the "honor" this season.

However, in the last four games, Johnson has scored a touchdown in every game and racked up 661 yards in that span. The recent tear that Johnson is on now has him on pace for 1,904 yards on the season, which would break Jerry Rice's long-held record of 1,848 yards that he set in 1995.

Over the last four games, quarterback Matthew Stafford has targeted Johnson at least 11 times in each game, giving the receiver more opportunities to rack up yards and touchdowns. If Stafford continues this trend with his targets, there is no doubt that Rice's once untouchable mark will indeed be reached.

A season of that magnitude would no doubt put talks of any curse on hold for at least another season.

Breaking the record will be no easy task for Johnson. Of the Lions' last four opponents for the season, three of the teams—the Packers, Bears and Falcons—are in the playoff hunt and will be doing everything they can to win games.

All four of the remaining teams on their schedule, the fourth team being the Arizona Cardinals, are in the top half of the league in pass defense. So if Johnson is going to take down Rice's record, he will no doubt have to earn it.