Miami Dolphins

Mega challenge awaits Dolphins in Lions WR Calvin Johnson

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) throws the ball before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) throws the ball before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. AP

Calvin Johnson is fresh. Calvin Johnson is healthy.

And Calvin Johnson is coming for the Dolphins.

The Detroit Lions receiver commonly known as Megatron said Wednesday that he will play Sunday against the Dolphins after missing the past three games with an ankle injury.

“There haven’t been many times where I’ve had three or four weeks off,” Johnson said. “Anytime you get that kind of time off your body is going to feel good.”

Johnson at anything close to 100 percent is an absolute nightmare for defensive backs. Johnson is big (6-5). He’s fast (he ran a 4.35-second 40 at the Scouting Combine).

And his vertical leap is close to four feet.

“That’s the best receiver in this league when he’s healthy, and he’s fast, physical, quick,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

Strength meets strength on Sunday in the Motor City. Miami ranks second in pass defense, allowing just 201 yards per game through the air. The Dolphins have surrendered 12 passing touchdowns through eight games — tied for the fourth-fewest in football.

And they have the AFC’s past two defensive players of the week in their secondary.

Brent Grimes, who intercepted Philip Rivers twice in Sunday’s rout of the Chargers, is the latest to take home the award. He follows safety Louis Delmas, who won it in Week 8 for returning an interception for a touchdown and recovering a fumble against the Jaguars.

Their next task could be their tallest — literally and figuratively. Delmas knows that better than anyone. He was Johnson’s teammate for five years in Detroit.

“He’s like the [Michael] Jordan of football,” Delmas said. “You’ve just got to try your best to defend him, get him on the ground as soon as possible when he does catch the ball.”

Delmas insisted that “this is just another road game” and that his “ties in Detroit are done.”

Grimes also has a history with Johnson, but not nearly as extensive. The two faced off twice while Grimes played for the Falcons, with Johnson totaling 12 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown in those games.

Grimes, who has lined up in single coverage against Johnson at times, wasn’t entirely to blame. In those two games, he held opposing quarterbacks to 8-of-14 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus.

“It’s a tough matchup; he’s a great player, one of the best receivers ever,” Grimes said. “Those are the facts of the matter. You just have to compete; that’s what this league is all about, you go out and compete week in and week out and try to make plays.”

It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins go about defending Johnson. For the most part, they haven’t matched up their cornerbacks against specific receivers. That suggests both Grimes and Cortland Finnegan — and even Jimmy Wilson — will get a shot at stopping Johnson.

Grimes has clearly been the best of the three in coverage.

On the season, quarterbacks have completed 70 percent of their passes against Finnegan and have amassed a 102.0 passer rating against him.

In six of those eight games, quarterbacks have completed at least two-thirds of their throws on Finnegan, who signed a two-year, $11 million contract in the spring.

“I’m just here to play football and play at a high level,” Finnegan said. “We’ve got eight games left. And every game I go into I have a chip on my shoulder about [my doubters]. We’ll just take it one game at a time.”

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