Calvin Johnson: Why Receiver Will Continue to Struggle Thanks to Matt Stafford

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IOctober 28, 2012

Oct 14, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Lions defeated the Eagles 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Calvin Johnson is not cursed by Madden. 

Well, not yet anyway. 

Yeah, I'm a little superstitious, but really, wouldn't an analysis of how placement on a video game cover has affected the best wide receiver in the NFL be a little ridiculous at this point?

Lions fans are probably sick of hearing about it anyway. 

There's no questioning it, Johnson is the most physically gifted, talented, intimidating—whatever you word you like to use—wideout in football. 

We know that. 

But unfortunately for him, and unfortunately for Detroit, he can only be as good as his quarterback, and this year, Matthew Stafford has regressed. 

Sure, a regression probably should have been more universally expected after a 5,034-yard, 41-touchdown masterpiece in 2011, but the fourth-year pro has experienced a noticeably and disconcerting drop off in accuracy and production this season. 

He's missed many open receivers on routes that he seemingly never missed a year ago. His mechanics, though occasionally quirky and improvisational, are breaking down more than ever before, and it's costing him. 

Stafford is completing 62.1 percent of his passes compared to 63 percent last year, but his average yards per attempt is down almost a full yard and his QB rating is 78.4 after compiling a 97.2 rating last season. 

Today's matchup with the Seahawks won't be easy for Megatron, as Seattle's secondary is big and aggressive, but believe me, no cornerback can matchup with Calvin Johnson throughout an entire football game. 

Yes, Pete Carroll's defensive game plan will be focused on double-teaming and sending a safety over the top on Johnson's side—as is the case for every team facing the otherworldly pass-catcher—but most of the time, he's good enough to beat schemes tailored to stop him. 

Now, it's simply on his quarterback to settle in and get him the football. 

The Lions are home, so it's time for Matthew Stafford to reestablish his rapport with the game's premier wide receiver. 

 

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