It took over half the year, but Justin Blackmon has finally stepped into the 2012 NFL season spotlight and declared himself an NFL player.
Things certainly didn't start out this way. Through the first nine games, he only accumulated 26 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown.
So, what's changed? Why is he now putting up numbers?
Is that a Quarterback?
Yes. Yes, it is. It's an actual quarterback.
Chad Henne has taken his lumps—and is probably not going to become a big-time starting quarterback—but we are talking about a four-year starter at Michigan and someone who occasionally put together a decent ball game for the Miami Dolphins.
You don't get as many chances as Henne without having something to offer.
Blackmon and Blaine Gabbert had zero chemistry and didn't seem to understand which page each player was on. Gabbert would target him often enough, but he failed to use his big-play ability in a consistent manner.
Before the game against the Houston Texans, Blackmon was averaging only 9.6 yards per catch. During said game, he averaged a ridiculous 33.7 yards per reception.
No, he's not going to come close to that type of average again. However, when given the ball in places to make plays, Blackmon can make people miss and bring in the long ball.
That was missing with Gabbert, who was much more risk-averse. Maybe it was because Henne figured he had nothing to lose. And, well, he didn't.
It's been awhile since we've heard anything from Blackmon. That's a good thing.
Before the season, there was the second arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. Then there were the somewhat-apologetic-but-not-really statements that followed them.
Quite frankly, there was reason to wonder if he would have any impact this year. We've seen a recent immature rookie wideout fail recently. His name was Michael Crabtree.
While Crabtree eventually "got it," it took some time. Apparently, somebody got through to Blackmon much quicker, judging by the recent turn of events.