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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Lions with -- and without -- Stafford-Johnson

By Kevin Seifert

Posted by’s Kevin Seifert


As Tom Kowalski of notes, Detroit had quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee) and receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) on the practice field together Thursday for the first time in more than two weeks. Johnson’s participation apparently was on a very limited basis, but Kowalski reports both players have a decent chance to play Sunday against St. Louis.

That got me wondering how the Lions have done with and without their two most important offensive players. I realize we’re only six games into the year, but it’s at least worth taking at a look at and monitoring through the season. Below are three different breakdowns: When both players have been on the field, when Johnson alone played, and when neither played.

Detroit Lions: With and without Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson
Category With both players (Weeks 1-4) With Johnson only (Week 5)* With neither (Week 6)
Points per game 20.8 20 0
Yards per game 318.8 335 149
First downs per game 19.8 21 10
Wins 1 -- --
Losses 3 1 1
Avg margin of loss 18.7 8 26
* Left with a knee injury.

Week 6, of course, was a 26-0 shutout at Green Bay. That “neither” category is one the Lions don’t want to visit many more times.

“You start with a guy like Calvin, he obviously changes the game,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He changes not only our offense, but he changes the way defenses play. So I think that’s obviously a big factor. I think the strides that Matt had made early in the season, he needs to be able to pick that back up again. The one thing that’s going to happen [is] they’ll play when they’re ready -- not to get out there before they’re ready. That will be the evaluation."