Dez Bryant may not be Calvin Johnson, but the two are both having nearly identical years thus far this season.
At a glance, comparing the Dallas Cowboys‘ Bryant and Detroit Lions‘ Johnson seems to be unfair. Johnson has almost 10 pounds on Bryant, and he is also a few inches taller. Johnson has a mind numbing 4.21 40 time, while Bryant just has a 4.52. Evaluating side by side on paper would lead one to think that clearly Johnson is the better receiver by far. However, in this case, combine statistics do not tell the entire story. Not by a long shot.
Both Johnson and Bryant are having great years coming into Sunday’s matchup in Detroit. Bryant has 52 receptions for 569 yards and six touchdowns. Johnson has 33 receptions for 492 yards and six touchdowns, but it’s worth noting that Johnson did miss some time this season due to injury.
The two superstar receivers are both matchup nightmares who require constant double-teams and special game planning. Both are excellent at going to get the ball at its highest point in the air and bringing down the touch catches. From purely a production standpoint, the differences are almost undetectable.
Johnson’s physical stature, history of making video game-type catches and reputation are the one thing that sets the two receivers apart. On any given Sunday, Johnson can make the one play that will send him to the top 10 on ESPN. Bryant has shown the same type of flare at times, but not to the degree of Johnson. Bryant has a pure blue-collar mentality. Bryant comes, dominates and gets ready for the next game.
Another thing that Bryant has going against him when comparing the two is that the Cowboys have a full array of offensive weapons to help compliment the receiver. Tight end Jason Witten has proven to be a favorite of Tony Romo for years. For Detroit, Johnson is the go-to receiver. Defenses know it’s coming and time after time they fail to stop it.
One thing is for sure, when Bryant and Johnson both step on the field Sunday, it will surely be a high-flying game featuring two of the NFL’s very best.