ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It’s the era of big passing and receiving stats in the NFL. Quarterbacks and receivers are putting up numbers at eye-popping rates, yet after three weeks only one receiver is on pace to catch Calvin Johnson’s record for single-season receiving yards.
And it happens to be the guy who was signed to help replace Johnson.
Detroit Lions receiver Marvin Jones leads the NFL with 408 receiving yards. He’s averaging 136 yards per game. He has already had two 100-yard games this season, and one of those was a 200-yard performance. And he’s on pace for an insane yardage amount -- 2,176 yards.
Big games and records, though, are not on his mind.
“A lot of the time when I do stuff, it’s pretty numb,” Jones said. “I’m still numb from my four-touchdown game in 2013. I haven’t thought about that much. I really don’t think about it. I just focus in on the task at hand, and that’s the Bears.”
Even Jones' massive game Sunday came after an assist from his 7-year-old son, Marvin III. The younger Marvin plays flag football for the Northville Colts, and in his last game he scored two touchdowns. So the son went to his father with a message: Dad had to match him.
And he did.
"I said, ‘I’m gonna get you today, son,'" Jones said Monday, before throwing the challenge back to his eldest boy.
This isn't a surprise. Jones said his sons watch all of his games -- tape them, actually -- and then he'll watch them in the backyard as they try to emulate what he does. They also try to emulate their father on the field. Little Marvin wears the first number his dad wore in football, No. 32, and even plays running back -- just as his dad did when Jones first started playing football in Southern California. In addition to Marvin III, Mareon is 4 years old and Murrell is 1.
Big Marvin joked Monday that he had to get ready to play with his kids when he got home because they were inevitably going to want to try to replicate what he did in the Lions' 34-27 loss to the Packers on Sunday. And that could lead to some big-game production from each Jones as their seasons progress.
Understand, Jones has a long, long way to go to reach Johnson’s record of 1,964 yards. He has to stay healthy. And Jones is a No. 1 receiver for the first time, so coverages are going to start slanting his way soon. He’s likely to start seeing double-teams and more exotic looks as early as this week.
To understand what Jones will have to do the rest of the way, he would have to average -- average -- 119.7 yards per game over the next 13 games in order to beat Johnson’s mark. The Lions are likely to throw a lot, but Jones has had a 100-yard game only four times in his career. He’s eclipsed 119 yards in a game only three times.
So for Jones, this is an unprecedented rate. He’s 83 yards clear of his next-closest competitor, Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs, who has 325 yards.
“I just let the preparation work and we go and prepare,” Jones said. “We have everything from a game plan standpoint. Everything is all out there and we get some great information and we have some great coaches that put us in a good position to go out there and make some plays.
“And that’s what’s been happening.”
Johnson’s record has been threatened before. Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins have made runs at it the last few years, including both Jones and Brown coming within 150 yards of Johnson last season.
Brown is lurking with 305 receiving yards, fourth in the NFL. And as most people know, Johnson broke the record because of a late-season surge: eight straight 100-yard games. So Jones has to show more consistency to make a run at the record.
But he’s off to a very strong start.