A little over an hour before the start of the Detroit Lions week five game against the Green Bay Packers, it was announced, to the surprise of quite a few people, that superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson had been ruled out. Losing arguably the best receiver in the NFL obviously negatively affected Megatron’s fantasy owners, but I doubt anyone expected how much it negatively affected the Lions’ offense.
Even with Johnson out, one would assume that Matt Stafford and his crew would still be able to move the ball through the air against a Green Bay defense that ranked 28th in the league against the pass, allowing 311 yards per game through the air, coming into this game. However, that assumption could not be farther from the truth.
Detroit managed only 286 yards of total offense and was only able to accrue 222 yards through the air. As if their overall numbers aren’t disappointing enough, much of the Lions’ offensive production also came in garbage time. Garbage time for Detroit included an eight-play (all passes), 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 22-9 in favor of the Pack. 22-9 also ended up being the final score of the contest.
Without Johnson on the field, the Lions, Stafford in particular, looked completely disheveled. Green Bay had an answer to stopping both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell catching passes out of backfield and were often able to get to Stafford to force throws to his depleted receiving core. If you’re looking for a silver lining, at least Stafford finished the game without throwing any picks.
Obviously it’s pretty normal for an offense to struggle without the team’s best offensive player in the lineup, but I would have expected a better performance from Detroit than the one we got. It’s not that we didn’t already know how important Megatron is to the Lions and to Stafford, it’s just that we now know that this team can’t function properly on offense without their Pro-Bowl wide receiver on the field.
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