Aqib Talib calls his battle with Calvin Johnson a 'win' for Broncos


DETROIT -- At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was the biggest player at the position, for either team, at Ford Field Sunday night.

So Talib thought it made perfect sense the Broncos matched him up on Detroit Lions 6-5, 237-pound wide receiver Calvin Johnson. And with a guy as big, as fast and as ridiculously talented with the ball in the air as Johnson, Talib knew he would win some and lose some over the course of the game.

But in the end, after a 24-12 Broncos win with Johnson having been held without a touchdown catch, Talib was calling it a win after Johnson finished with eight catches for 77 yards.

“Two (passes) were right in my hands -- one he snatched from me, one we both dropped it," Talib said. “Hey, it’s a win. He had about 70 yards, we got the win, no touchdowns from him, that’s all you can ask for."

Johnson finished with just two receptions longer than 9 yards -- an 11-yard catch and a 25-yard catch, both on the same second-quarter drive. The 25-yard effort was the play when Johnson essentially ripped a would-be interception out of Talib’s hands to convert a first down.

Johnson also drew a pass-interference penalty on Talib in the Broncos’ end zone during the Lions’ first touchdown drive of the game. The penalty moved the ball to the Broncos’ 1-yard line and the Lions scored on the next play, a 1-yard run by Joique Bell.

“I knew I was going to have some help over the top so I was going to have a chance for some good action on the football," Talib said. “A couple of those passes he caught early, I should have really got. I was messing up ... at the beginning of the game."

Talib did have some deep help at times but was largely left to fend for himself against Johnson, who had just three receptions in the second half, none of the three longer than 7 yards.

“You want to make it hard for the quarterback to go with the ball where he likes to go," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. “We can do that with the players we have in our secondary. If we play our game and do what we’re supposed to, quarterbacks will have a hard time going where they want to go with the ball."

When Sunday’s game had finished, Talib and Johnson spent some time talking as they left the field. Asked what they said to each other, Talib said: “Just giving him respect, just telling him stuff he already know."