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Detroit Lions shift focus to Megatron's record pursuit

The Detroit Lions no longer are playing for a playoff spot. They know this.

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So what's the motivation for the final three weeks? Jerry Rice's NFL receiving record.

Calvin Johnson has 1,546 receiving yards, 303 shy of Rice's single-season record of 1,848, set with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995.

"We have to hang our hat on something this year," Lions center Dominic Raiola told The Associated Press this week. "I think it would be awesome for him to do it. I'd love to be able to say I was on the team and helped him do it."

There were such high hopes in Detroit coming off a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2011. There was so much tough talk even when the team was losing, it's almost odd to see the Lions wave the white flag. But Megatron's goal now is the team's.

"It's definitely something that I take joy in that my teammates are right behind me on this thing," Johnson said. "They want me to get it as much as I want to get it."

The record is a pretty remarkable achievement, considering many thought there was no way Johnson could replicate his 98 catches, 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns from 2011. He has just five touchdowns this season, and that was part of the Lions' problem.

At least we get to watch Matthew Stafford force the ball to Megatron the next three weeks. This is good news for his fantasy owners who still are alive in the playoffs.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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