A.J. Hawk tackles Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph
For fans of the Green Bay Packers, it’s Victory Monday! and it’s the very best way to start a week. But it’s also Excuses Monday, on the losing side of the coin.
I know when the Packers lose – I spend the entire week trying to pinpoint exactly where it went wrong. What could we have done differently? What if we had done this? … what if that guy had played? or that guy hadn’t been injured?
That is exactly what Detroit Lions fans are doing today. It was quite a shock to get the report that Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was going to be sitting out the contest. I can’t say that I was disappointed with the news, but I know a whole lot of people who were; and they all live in Michigan. So, I am sure they are asking themselves “what if” today.
What if he had played and what if their offense had been able to get going? It’s not like it was a banner day for the Packers offensively. Would the outcome have been different? I’m here to put those questions to bed …
Q: Would the insertion of Calvin Johnson given an invigorated Lions team its first win at Lambeau since 1991?
No. Simply put, no. I understand that he is a beast; and believe me, I am not underestimating his ability to make a play where there is no play. But, he has been present in every contest under the Aaron Rodgers regime and it hasn’t mattered.
Yes, he has had BIG days against a “bend-but-don’t-break” Dom Capers defense. He is, however, an obvious security blanket for Matthew Stafford, and it is never a surprise when he is targeted down the field.
Having Morgan Burnett back and having Sam Shields acting as Megatron’s shadow all day, would have been enough to make Stafford consider other receivers; and we all saw how well his other receivers handled the pressure yesterday.
Did the absence of Detroit Lions wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson (right) have an effect on Sunday’s game at Lambeau Foield. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Q: Did Megatron’s absence allow the Packers to stack the box and focus on Reggie Bush?
Would it have played out differently had he been there, distracting the secondary? No. Look at what the run defense has been able to do against quality running teams so far this season! San Fran had a field day with our secondary – Boldin and Davis were studs all day, so we were not able to focus all of our attention on Frank Gore and that decisive running game.
Yet, our front seven stuffed nearly everything coming from that backfield. Gore was frustrated all day. Alfred Morris couldn’t get anything going and a big Packers lead changed Washington’s game plan. Young buck, Giovanni Bernard had trouble finding lanes in a week three loss at Cincy.
Our big defensive line has been doing work so far and Reggie Bush would have fared the same either way. Capers is showing that there is definite attention being given to the running game this year – and I’m loving it.
I can honestly say that I am excited to see what we can do against Adrian Peterson this year.
All of these questions will be answered live on Thanksgiving Day.
If our offense starts rollin’ and history is any indication: Packers fans will have one more thing to be thankful for this year.