Johnson, aka 'Megatron,' had just three receptions, while Young had nine for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
DETROIT — A Lions receiver turned out to be the biggest factor in Sunday’s game, but it wasn’t the biggest Lions receiver.
After a week in which the focus was on everything from Calvin Johnson’s size, at 6 feet 5, to his Transformers nickname, the Lions’ leading receiver caught as many passes (three) as he allowed to bounce off his hands.
“You see his numbers,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “They speak for themselves. He was a non-factor.”
Instead, it was Titus Young, the Lions’ second-year receiver from Boise State, who caught nine passes, including two touchdowns. His 46-yard touchdown in the second quarter matched the longest scoring pass allowed by Seattle this season, and his 1-yard catch in the fourth quarter turned out to be the game-winner.
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As for all the attention on Johnson before the game?
“We can’t emphasize on one guy so much,” Seahawks corner Brandon Browner said. “I thought we’d match up well against him.”
Sherman drew attention this week by changing the name on his Twitter account to Optimus Prime, a reference to Johnson’s nickname of Megatron. In fact, Sherman got a voice mail from Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime in the “Transformers” cartoon from the 1980s.
Seattle had only two sacks Sunday, and the temptation is to blame Seattle’s lack of pass pressure. But Detroit deserves some credit, specifically quarterback Matthew Stafford.
“He did throw it pretty quick,” Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons said. “I think they went to the same situation where Green Bay did in the second half on us, quick throws. Getting the ball out of his hand, not letting him hold onto the ball. We’ve got to get our hands up to get those balls down. Make him hold the ball or at least pump it so we get a chance to get back there to him.”
Stafford threw 49 passes, which isn’t shocking. The Lions averaged a league-high 46 attempts entering the game. Stafford was 11-for-16 passing in the fourth quarter for 84 yards and a touchdown.
“In NFL football, the fourth quarter is the fun,” Stafford said.
Consider Seattle impressed.
“I take my hat off to that guy today for the game he played,” Browner said.
Seattle had a chance to pad its halftime lead in the final minute of the first half. The Seahawks had a first-and-10 at the Lions’ 41 with 12 seconds and one timeout left.
The Seahawks lost two yards on a trap to Robert Turbin and used their final timeout with six seconds left. After Seattle threw a quick slant to the sideline that was incomplete, Steven Hauschka was brought on for a 61-yard field-goal attempt. That was the same distance as the ill-fated attempt at a game-winner in Week 4 against Atlanta last season. This try was closer, but still no good, and Seattle led 17-13 at halftime.
So what was the thinking running the ball with 12 seconds left?
“We were still a long ways away with not enough time to keep taking big shots,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We wanted to get in field-goal range, and they unfortunately hit the trap and we didn’t make the yards we wanted.”
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards was a surprising scratch from the Seahawks’ active roster Sunday.
He was expected to see significant time in the game, Carroll going so far as to say he would share time with Golden Tate at split end during the game.
Edwards practiced this week through Saturday’s walk-through. His knee was swollen when he woke up Sunday morning, however. He had fluid drained from the knee, and warmed up with quarterback Russell Wilson before the game, but after that his knee again began to swell.
“He tried to get going,” Carroll said, “tried to run and just couldn’t get going today.”
Defensive tackle Jason Jones was out with an ankle injury, but he was listed as doubtful after he was unable to practice all week. Rookie Greg Scruggs took his spot in the nickel pass rush.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.