Calvin Johnson’s season, while statistically at the norm of his usual output, was disappointing at the end of the season, just like his whole team.
Despite missing two games to injury, Johnson still achieved 84 receptions for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns. Compare this to Johnson’s near record-breaking 2012 campaign where the receiver had 122 receptions for 1,964 yards (36 shy of the first 2,000 yard receiving season in NFL history) and five touchdowns.
When the Lions were in the drivers seat of the NFC North at 6-3 while other contenders were dealing with injuries, the whole team came up short.
During the 6-3 stretch to start the season, Johnson had 53 receptions for 904 yards and nine touchdowns. In the 1-6 stretch that ended the season early, Johnson only had 31 receptions for 588 yards and only three touchdowns (two in one game against the Pittsburgh Steelers).
Megatron did not come up big in the clutch. Whether you blame Matthew Stafford for turning into a turnover machine or Johnson’s injuries that hampered him this season, Johnson wasn’t the “Megatron” that we all know he can be.
Despite falling out of first place, the Lions still had the best chance to win the NFC North. On Monday Night Football against the Baltimore Ravens, Johnson only had six receptions on 14 targets with key drops, and ultimately Matt Elam, the Ravens rookie safety, won the verbal war that escalated leading up to the game.
The next week the Lions had the easiest two-game stretch that would determine the winner of the NFC North. Against the New York Giants, Johnson was only targeted four times with three receptions for 43 yards in an overtime loss. Johnson did not play in a meaningless regular season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
For everyone using the injury excuse to dismiss Johnson’s poor finish to the end of the 2013 season, know that everyone has some form of injury or pain at the end of the season.
In summation, I would give Calvin Johnson a B grade for the 2013 season. I expect a much healthier Calvin Johnson to start the 2014 season rather than the injury-riddled one that ended the 2013 campaign.