- Associated Press - Thursday, November 10, 2011

In the pass-happy NFL of 2011, it’s a shame Megatron won’t be visiting Revis Island.

Calvin Johnson and Darrelle Revis have been the maestros of the league halfway through the schedule. The Lions wideout nicknamed Megatron has looked superhuman and is on a record receiving pace. The Jets All-Pro cornerback actually has been tested a few times, flunking quarterbacks and receivers in the process with his play.

Johnson and Revis represent the yin and yang of a wild post-lockout half-season in which one superstar’s neck surgery plunged his team so far down the standings it might go 0-for-‘11. Four-time MVP Peyton Manning has proven with his absence just how valuable he truly is.

As for the guys actually playing, Ndamukong Suh, LaMarr Woodley, Cam Newton, Matt Forte and Aaron Rodgers deserve special nods for their performances. But Detroit’s game-breaking pass catcher with the huge, great hands _ hence Megatron _ and New York’s game-saving defender spur the passions.

With Detroit going 6-2, Johnson has 11 TDs, joining Randy Moss as the only players since the 1970 merger with that many touchdown catches in his team’s first eight games.

“He’s an unbelievable receiver. That’s why his nickname is `Megatron,’ and he lives up to that nickname,” Revis says. “He’s a beast. I mean, he’s 6-foot-5 and it’s hard to jump with that guy when the ball is up in the air. He’s also fast, a sub-4.3 guy, and he gives you problems. He’ll give any team in the league problems, so you always have to come up with a great game plan against him. He can score two touchdowns, or three or even four, easily on you if you don’t game-plan him right.”

Even when teams do have the right approach, usually double teams and trying to get physical, Johnson has an answer. Just look at his sensational over-the-shoulder reception in overtime at Minnesota that led to the winning field goal.

Or look at the way defenses treat him _ with as many people as they can find to cover Johnson.

Possibly the only person not overwhelmingly impressed is Johnson himself.

“It’s been productive,” he says. “We’re 6-2, so I’ve been able to help the team out. Hopefully, I’ll continue to be able to do that. This is definitely what you play for. Just to be in this position is a privilege.”

All part of a momentous and memorable half-season in which the Lions have joined the 49ers, Bills and Bengals as surprising success stories, with the Niners (7-1) owning the second-best record in the league.

“There are not many times in NFL history that it’s happened: 11 touchdowns before the half,” coach Jim Schwartz says. “Obviously he’s on those kind of paces, but just like our team, 6-2 doesn’t mean a lot with it if we don’t do something with that over the second half of the season. I’m sure Calvin won’t feel good about his first half of the season if he can’t continue to have that kind of season or even play better over the second half of the year.”

If there is a defensive scheme that could slow Megatron, it probably needs to include Revis. When the teams faced off in 2010, Johnson managed one catch for 13 yards.

Revis‘ coverage skills are such that opponents rarely have thrown his way. Through eight games, though, several teams have flown over Revis Island, and been grounded by the cornerback.

Revis is the best player in football,” Jets coach Rex Ryan says. “It doesn’t matter _ midseason, postseason, whatever. There’s only one Darrelle Revis in this league, and we’re fortunate to have him. If we choose to lock him down on somebody, it’s probably going to be a long afternoon for that player.”

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