Tied for ninth in the NFL with 35 receptions, game-breaking receivers Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson will battle for bragging rights Monday night when the Bears host the Lions.
“Two No. 1 receivers you’re going to see on the field Monday night, they’re about as good as you’re going to see in the league this year,” said coach Lovie Smith. “That should be worth coming to the game just to watch the two of these guys play.”
In his last two games, Marshall has caught 19 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first Bears receiver to top 100 yards in back-to-back contests since 1999. He’s not, however, viewing Monday night’s game as a one-on-one battle with Johnson.
“I just have to be the best wide receiver for the Chicago Bears and play my role,” Marshall said. “If it’s catching 10 balls one week of if it’s two or three the next week and blocking in the run game, it’s the same for me.”
Johnson has compiled 558 yards in five games this season, but has scored only one touchdown. Last year the Lions star had 96 receptions for a NFL-high 1,681 yards and 16 TDs.
“He’s as advertised,” Marshall said. “On my iPad I have probably the top 10 receivers. I won’t mention who’s in my top 10, but he’s definitely one of them. I really like what he’s doing. I really like where his career’s headed. He had an amazing year last year, so a lot of guys are trying to keep up with the pace that he set.”
In the Bears’ 37-13 win over the Lions last Nov. 13 at Soldier Field, Johnson was targeted 19 times but had just seven receptions for 81 yards. Cornerback Charles Tillman did an excellent job containing him, breaking up two passes and returning an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
“We’ll have to be able to slow him down a little bit,” Smith said. “We’ll have to in order to be able to win the football game. This isn’t a new team we’re playing. They have great talent over there, but we played them before, so we feel pretty good about our chances just like they do.”
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