Tyron Johnson’s TD catch shows how he can ‘bring the juice’ to Chargers

Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson scores on a 53-yard touchdown reception.
Chargers wide receiver Tyron Johnson scores on a 53-yard touchdown reception during the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers.
(Jason Behnken / Associated Press)

His touchdown was almost as notable as the celebration that followed it.

Tyron Johnson had never caught an NFL pass before streaking behind Tampa Bay’s secondary Sunday to haul in a 53-yard touchdown toss from Justin Herbert. The moment arrived like a bolt of lightning on just the Chargers’ fourth play from scrimmage.

Immediately afterward, veteran receiver Keenan Allen sprinted into the end zone and greeted Johnson with a leaping body slam that ended with Allen face down on the turf.

Chargers rookie Justin Herbert threw for three touchdowns with a lofty passer rating of 137.9, but it wasn’t enough to beat Tom Brady and Tampa Bay.

Oct. 4, 2020


“That’s what coach preached this week: ‘Bring the juice,’ ” Johnson said. “I’m known for bringing the juice in practice.”

Johnson was undrafted a year ago out of Oklahoma State. He spent the season on the practice squads of four teams, including the Chargers. Sunday marked his NFL debut.

He was promoted to the active roster Saturday, the Chargers preferring the speed Johnson can bring compared to that of Joe Reed, a 2020 fifth-round pick who was inactive.

“There was a lot of emotion,” Johnson said of learning he would be playing this weekend. “I thought about my high school career. I thought about my college career. I thought about how hard I worked to get to that point. … I had to make the best of it.”

As unlikely as Johnson’s story was Sunday, he wasn’t the only Charger in the game to make his first NFL catch a touchdown reception. In the second quarter, tight end Donald Parham Jr. did the same thing at the end of a 19-yard completion from Herbert.

Parham also was undrafted in 2019, coming out of Stetson, which is located in DeLand, Fla. He grew up in Lakeland, Fla., about 35 miles from Tampa.

“Really a blessing that I was able to do it here,” he said after the 38-31 loss at Raymond James Stadium.