Random thoughts on a football Sunday

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• The Steelers-Detroit Lions game today is must-see TV for any number of reasons but none larger than a chance to watch a player who is destined to be remembered as an all-time great. That would be Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, whose incredible skills are well described by Gerry Dulac in today’s Post-Gazette.

• If it were not for Jerry Rice, perhaps the greatest player in NFL history, Johnson might already be acclaimed as the best wide receiver ever.

• Johnson poses incalculable problems for a pass defense that has been lacking against far lesser talent.

• Compounding all of this is the fact Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is extremely difficult to sack. Among NFL QBs who have thrown more than 150 passes, Stafford’s 10 sacks ranks as best in the league. He’s thrown four more passes than Peyton Manning, the master of getting rid of the ball, and been sacked three fewer times.

• Very, very hard to see a Steelers win this afternoon.

• That was Pitt being Pitt yesterday at Heinz Field yesterday -- bad -- good -- bad.

• You might not have liked them, but the punt returns for touchdowns by North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer were spectacular athletic accomplishments, particularly the second one that produced the winning score.

• Pitt will win Saturday at Syracuse to become ‘bowl-eligible.’ Big deal! I’ll be more impressed, but not greatly so, if it can beat Miami a week later. The Hurricanes were ranked seventh in the nation on Oct. 26 but have lost three straight and figure to fall out of the top 25.

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