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Monday, November 18, 2013
Upon Further Review: Lions Week 11

By Michael Rothstein

A review of four hot issues from the Detroit Lions37-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Calvin Johnson
The Steelers blanketed Calvin Johnson in the second half.
Where was Calvin? After one of the better halves Calvin Johnson has had in his career (six catches for 179 yards), he legitimately disappeared from Detroit's offense in the second half Sunday. Johnson was targeted only three times in the second half and caught no passes, becoming a stunning nonfactor for the Lions. “They were doubling him most of the game,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “They were doubling most guys, playing two deep, man under a lot of the game. They were top-10 against the pass in the NFL coming into the game. They can rush the passer and guard receivers.” Still, Johnson is the best receiver in the game, and it was surprising to see him, well, not used much at all.

Quin is a concern: While a lot of attention will be focused on Detroit’s defensive meltdown in the fourth quarter, one of the reasons it happened might be because of who wasn’t in the game. By then, safety Glover Quin had been sidelined with an ankle injury, and if you questioned his value before, you won’t now. Quin might be one of the three most important players on Detroit’s defense, along with DeAndre Levy and Ndamukong Suh. He helps set the defensive backfield and is a good balance to Louis Delmas. Quin didn’t have his best game Sunday, but he has experience and chemistry with Delmas and the corners. That can’t be overlooked.

Belief in Bush: When Detroit signed Reggie Bush, it was to be a difference-maker in the offense, the short-game complement to Johnson and the guy who could create something out of nothing. After his second-quarter fumble, though, Bush did nothing with, well, nothing. Bush had 31 yards rushing, 23 yards receiving and the fumble -- not what the Lions were hoping for. The bizarre part came at the end of the game, when the Lions used Theo Riddick instead of Bush when they tried to rally back. And Bush said he was healthy enough to play. He said the fumble was part of the reason he was on the bench late. “That’s for the coaches,” Bush said. “You gotta ask Coach that question. Like I said, I turned the ball over, and that’s what happened when you turn the ball over.” Still, I don't get sitting Bush, who is a receiving threat despite his penchant for dropping passes, at such a critical time in favor of an untested rookie.

The fake field goal: Detroit's failed fake field goal attempt in the fourth quarter will be a topic of discussion this week, and while it was certainly a different call in that type of situation, it is not a call I had a problem with. Detroit has won games this season by going for it, either with gutsy play calls or coming from behind late. So no issues there from me. Detroit has some issues, for sure, but that isn’t one of them.