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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

How Calvin Johnson's Injury Affected the Packers' Run Defense

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports


This week, Mike Spofford of, in his weekly segment of “What You Might’ve Missed,” discussed a quality of the Green Bay Packers defense that he titled, “No Fear.” In this weeks edition of “What You Might’ve Missed,” Spofford dissects and analyzes a few plays, specifically focusing on the Packers’ run defense.

Spofford explains why the run defense was so effective, saying:

“…it was announced, 90 minutes before kickoff, that Lions’ wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, would miss the game because of a knee injury. That left the Lions with only one play-maker on offense, in running back, Reggie Bush. As a result, the Packers, particularly with their safety play, were able to focus a little more attention on Bush and not worry as much, about big plays in the passing game.”

With Calvin Johnson inactive, Packers’ defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, must have felt more comfortable allowing safety, M.D. Jennings to leave his normal “deep-safety” position and sneak up toward the line-of-scrimmage leaving one-on-one coverage on the outside. This is something that more than likely would not have happened as frequently, had Calvin Johnson suited up. While only amassing a total of three tackles, M.D. Jennings’ help with the run defense cannot be gauged statistically.

Oct 6, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) tackles Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush (21) during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

It could be possible that this type of defensive scheming, allowed the Packers to have, likely, their best defensive performance of the season.

Reggie Bush, who carried the Lions to a shootout win against the Bears, running for 139 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown, was held to 44 yards on 13 carries and no touchdowns. Overall the Packers’ defense allowed only 326 yards, a major improvement from allowing 502 against the 49ers, and 428 against the Redskins.

Hopefully the defense will continue the impressive play against the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday at 1 p.m. E/T.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers M.D. Jennings

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