Cowboys have no answers for ‘crazy’ Lions receiver

Posted Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Dallas Cowboys defensive backs were at a loss for words after Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions.

“Not much for you,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said.

“Kind of lost for words,” safety Jakar Hamilton said after his NFL debut.

“I don’t know,” Brandon Carr said, shaking his head before a question even was asked.

It seemed appropriate since the Cowboys didn’t have an answer for Calvin Johnson.

The Cowboys began putting Carr on the other team’s best receiver four games ago. Carr held Denver’s DeMaryius Thomas to five catches for 57 yards; Washington’s Pierre Garcon to six for 69; and Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson to three for 21.

But Carr and the Cowboys discovered Sunday that Johnson isn’t Thomas, Garcon or Jackson. Roy Williams nicknamed Johnson “Megatron” for a reason.

“He’s crazy, man,” rookie B.W. Webb said.

The Cowboys rewrote their record book — and not in a good way. The Lions’ 623 total yards ranked as the most ever against Dallas and included a record 488 passing yards.

Johnson’s performance left everyone talking.

Johnson’s 329 receiving yards fell only 7 yards short of Rams receiver Flipper Anderson’s NFL record, which he set against the Saints in 1989.

“It was challenging,” Carr said. “We never had an answer for him. That’s the guy they kept feeding. We just didn’t adjust quick enough to take him out of the game, and they rolled him all the way to victory.”

Johnson came down with 14 catches, four for 99 on the Lions’ last two, desperate scoring drives. A 54-yarder on the first play after the Cowboys had taken a 10-point lead with 6:45 left came against double coverage with Carr and rookie safety Jeff Heath in good position.

“You’ve got to give him most of the credit,” Heath said. “Some of those, though, those are our plays to make, and we just didn’t make them, and they did.”

The Cowboys didn’t. Johnson did. Again and again and again.… Like a broken record.

“They don’t come any tougher than that,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “You think you’ve seen some tough ones. Wow! That’s a tough one there.

“It’s what everybody said he was. We had a good plan. We just didn’t execute it as well as we needed to execute it. He’s tough, there’s no doubt about it.”

On the Lions’ game-winning drive, the Cowboys played without their starting safeties and a starting cornerback. Starting safety J.J. Wilcox was inactive with a sprained knee. Starting safety Barry Church left with a strained right hamstring, and cornerback Morris Claiborne stood on the sideline with a hamstring injury.

Heath, who had played only 41 defensive snaps before Sunday, started. Joining him in the secondary on the final drive were Hamilton, called up from the practice squad Saturday, and Webb.

The Cowboys’ Cover 2, with three inexperienced players, was no match for Matthew Stafford and Johnson.

Johnson’s performance Sunday spoke for itself.

Charean Williams 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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