After all the pre-game chatter, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was so effective Sunday, he rendered Aqib Talib speechless.
The fourth-year cornerback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dressed hurriedly and bolted out of the locker room within minutes of Detroit's 27-20 victory, declining to comment on his marquee matchup against Johnson.
The stat sheet, however, spoke loudly as Johnson caught six passes for 88 yards, including two touchdowns.
"We made plays on him (Talib),'' said Johnson, who caught 10 passes in Tampa last year during an overtime win as an injured Talib watched from the sidelines. "I didn't have any problems. There was a lot of talk. We don't talk back. … We just do what we do.''
Talib's day began on a jubilant note as he grabbed a Matt Stafford pass that deflected off the hands of ex-Bucs tight end Will Heller and ran 28 yards for his second NFL touchdown, putting Tampa Bay ahead 10-3.
With the Lions facing a fourth-and-2 from the Bucs' 36-yard line midway through the second quarter, Stafford found Johnson past Talib down the right sideline to give Detroit the lead for good at 13-10.
"I was supposed to be over the top on that play,'' acknowledged Bucs safety Sean Jones, "but they had four receivers on the field, and I kind of got greedy looking at a guy going across the middle.''
Johnson's second score came on a fade pass from a yard out in the third quarter, despite tight coverage by Talib.
"Talib's a heck of a corner, but there are some plays that if they put the ball in a perfect spot, there's no defense for it,'' Bucs safety Cody Grimm said. "Aqib was right there.''
Talib gave up four inches to the 6-foot-5 Johnson, who displayed his impressive versatility later in the game.
It was Johnson who soared to grab Michael Koenen's onside kick attempt with 95 seconds left after the Bucs pulled within a touchdown. And it was Johnson who lined up near the end zone as a defensive back on the game's final snap from the Lions 42.
A strained hamstring kept Talib out of the preseason and he talked earlier in the week about how much he looked forward to his showdown against Johnson.
"He might talk in the paper, but like I said, it's all about us,'' said Johnson. "You've got to respect your opponent, no matter who it is. You respect him best by going out there and beating him up.''