ARLINGTON, Texas -- You knew something was coming late Sunday afternoon in the bowels of Cowboys Stadium. Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz strode to a podium, smirking and calmly waiting for reporters to get themselves in position. Before opening the floor for questions after a 34-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Schwartz said:
"Indulge me for a second. I’m just glad that the third-best receiver on their team is on our team."
Schwartz was responding to what I thought was such a dumb comment from Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan that I didn’t write it last week. Asked about Calvin Johnson, Ryan said: "We work against better receivers with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. They are probably two of the premier receivers in football, but this guy is right there. He’s almost that good. He’s excellent."
Ryan’s attempt at bravado fell so flat, because it was so baseless, that I thought it wasn’t worth our time. Schwartz, however, capitalized and made sure the right people knew about it.
By coincidence or otherwise, Johnson caught another two touchdowns Sunday, giving him the NFL record for most consecutive games with multiple touchdown receptions, and now has eight for the season. He said he didn’t pay attention to Ryan’s comments, despite hearing them “from other people,” and added: "I just go out there and do what I have to do."
You’re not going to get much more from Johnson, whose soft-spoken demeanor doesn’t lend itself to inflammatory public statements. But Schwartz couldn't resist. He rattled off his line once and then moved on.
"It makes something nice to say after the game and stuff like that," Schwartz said, "but none of that stuff matters once you get on the field. But you see in a game like this, the effect that a Calvin Johnson has, not just in the game winner but all the other plays in the game."
More in a bit.