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Week 1 vs. NO
Receiving: 3 / 90 / 0 on 13 targets
Johnson picked up where he left off in 2008, showing his hands, quickness and physical style of wide receiver play on a pair of receptions during the Lions' second series. Johnson turned two quick hitting routes into solid gains by catching passes in stride and breaking tackles. Johnson gained separation on the Saints' corners regularly, but often fell victim to Matthew Stafford's struggles with inaccuracy as the game progressed, unable to haul in a number of overthrown and shorthopped passes. Johnson was targeted eleven times, but could manage only three catches. Johnson was able to turn an in route into a long gain and nearly a touchdown in the second half, again breaking tackles and running away from the Saints' secondary after beating man coverage.
Week 2 vs. MIN
Rushing: 2 / 16 / 0
Receiving: 5 / 51 / 1 on 7 targets
Early in the game, the Lions looked to Johnson often. He was the target of several short and medium passes, and used in end around rushes and as a decoy for Smith who was able to break a longer gain as the defense keyed on him. He was open in the first quarter but Stafford narrowly missed the pass to him. If the ball would have been thrown better, the Lions would have been up 7-0 instead of settling for a FG. He caught a TD pass later in the game and was solid whenever he had the ball. The problem for the Lions was that they were focused on establishing their running game and Johnson did not touch the ball nearly as much as he should have. Kevin Smith had a solid game against a tough defense, but it was at the expense of Calvin Johnson. When they went back to him later in the game, he continued to produce results but it was a little too late at that point.
Week 3 vs. WAS
Rushing: 1 / 9 / 0
Receiving: 5 / 49 / 0 on 7 targets
Calvin was used more a decoy/setup man for Kevin Smith in the first half. The Lions ran multiple fake reverses where Smith ran the ball up the gut for big gains. He had a few minor receptions and one key series where he ran for nine yards, and had two back to back receptions for 27 yards. He had a big 36 yard gain in the 3rd quarter that was called back on a questionable pass interference call on him. He finished the game with only minor statistics and was more of a set-up man for Bryant Johnson.
Week 4 vs. CHI
Rushing: 1 / 12 / 0
Receiving: 8 / 133 / 0 on 12 targets
As expected, Calvin Johnson led all Detroit receivers in yardage, targets and receptions by a wide margin. The Bears' secondary is not at full strength and was questionable even before injuries started to hit them, so the Lions' game plan against Chicago was to push the ball downfield with Calvin Johnson. Johnson adjusted on errant and inaccurate throws from Stafford, making both of their numbers look better. Once Stafford settles in and gets used to the pro level the sky is the limit for Johnson.
Week 5 vs. PIT
Receiving: 1 / 2 / 0 on 1 targets
Calvin Johnson did not let a bruised thigh keep him from starting in Week 5 against Pittsburgh. He caught one ball for a couple of yards and then hurt his leg and had to leave the game in the first quarter. He was unable to return to the game against Pittsburgh and not much is being revealed about the leg injury after the game. Johnson and the Lions have an interesting decision to make as Detroit visits Green Bay in Week 6 but the next week is Detroit's bye. Should Detroit decide to rest Johnson, they would in effect give him an extra two weeks off due to the bye.
Week 9 vs. SEA
Receiving: 2 / 27 / 0 on 9 targets
One could argue that Calvin Johnson's return from injury might have hurt the Lions more than helped them. He frequently drew double coverage, and although Stafford checked down to other receivers a lot during the game, he still tried to force the ball to Calvin on a few plays and it resulted in interceptions. Calvin struggled to get open for most of the game, and finished with only two minor receptions for just 27 yards. Not the 'Megatron' type numbers you normally expect from him.
Week 10 vs. MIN
Receiving: 8 / 84 / 0 on 13 targets
Calvin Johnson is clearly not 100% yet. He looks like he's playing at half speed, and does not have the aggressive intensity that earned him the 'Megatron' knickname. He dropped several very catchable passes, and was easily tackled after making his other receptions. On the final series of the second quarter, he had three receptions that resulted in almost 50 of his 84 total yards receiving, giving him less than 7 yards per reception for the majority of his contributions. He looked slower and dejected by the second half and could not seem to get open, even when the Vikings were blitzing on every down. Between his lack of effectiveness and the constant pounding that Stafford was taking, he was not a big factor in this game.
Week 11 vs. CLE
Receiving: 7 / 161 / 1 on 11 targets
Johnson had a short red zone target knocked away, then narrowly missed getting his feet in bounds on a deep fade pattern in the end zone early. After the early near-misses, Johnson torched the two-deep Cleveland coverage for multiple deep catches, including a deep double move that went for a 75 yard catch and run for a score. Johnson separated from man coverage on the rare occasions the Browns tried to defend him that way and shed tackles easily to add yards after the catch.
Week 12 vs. GB
Receiving: 2 / 10 / 1 on 12 targets
Calvin Johnson has been hampered by a knee injury over the past few weeks and was a surprise start this week for the Lions. Johnson was looked at often by Matt Stafford, seeing a game high 12 targets overall. Despite the many looks, Johnson was largely ineffective as he was only able to bring in 2 catches for 10 yards. One of his receptions was a nice back shoulder TD catch (his 3rd of the season). It was clear throughout the game that his knee injury was limiting his effectiveness. He was slow to pull himself off of the turf on multiple occasions.
Week 13 vs. CIN
Receiving: 6 / 123 / 1 on 11 targets
The Bengals pressed Johnson at the line of scrimmage and usually had safety help on top. That strategy worked well at times, as Johnson had a couple of potential long gains knocked free by a second defender. At other times, Johnson went up to get balls at their highest point between the two defenders and made plays. He was also able to turn defenders when running deep routes to gain separation, including on a long post pattern in which he walked into the end zone untouched after catching the ball in stride inside the ten yard line.
Week 14 vs. BAL
Receiving: 4 / 37 / 0 on 13 targets
Calvin Johnson grabbed only four out of 12 targets for a minimal 37 yards in Week 14, but he was targeted several times deep down the field by backup QB Daunte Culpepper. Johnson was often double-teamed with coverage, as the Ravens dared Detroit to try and win the game without their best wide receiver. Johnson should start to get healthier performances once Matthew Stafford comes back, which may be as soon as next week as Detroit faces the Arizona Cardinals.
Week 15 vs. ARI
Receiving: 3 / 35 / 0 on 6 targets
Johnson's first catch came on a deflected ball, and even when he got open deep downfield, Culpepper couldn't reach him, instead throwing an easy INT. He tried to adjust to a later underthrow, but couldn't, and Johnson generally struggled to even get catchable targets from this terrible QB combo. He did throw a block and escort Maurice Morris to the end zone on his long TD run and made a nice run after catch on the drive that tied the game at 24. Things couldn't get much worse for Johnson from a fantasy standpoint, but better days will come.
Week 16 vs. SF
Rushing: 2 / 32 / 0
Receiving: 7 / 96 / 0 on 12 targets
When Drew Stanton was at QB, Calvin Johnson enjoyed the majority of the offensive attention. He opened the game with a 19 yard reverse and was the guy that Stanton looked to early and often in the passing game. Johnson had another run later in the first half, and actually went into half-time as the leading rusher from both teams. Stanton continued to feed him the ball, despite being double covered for most of the game. This proved to be Johnson's undoing as the Niners went for the strip, more than the tackle, and Johnson fumbled the ball away twice at key points during the game.
Week 17 vs. CHI
Rushing: 1 / 4 / 0
Receiving: 6 / 86 / 1 on 10 targets
Calvin Johnson was the key focus of the Detroit passing attack, despite being double and triple covered for most of the game. Daunte Culpepper's second pass was a deep throw down the right side of the field to Johnson, but the two were not on the same page because Johnson broke it off after about 15 yards. The ball sailed over his head and was easily picked off. He had several nice catch and run plays throughout the game, including receptions of 12, 18, 19 and 23 yards. Early in the fourth quarter, Johnson took a reverse from Maurice Morris that was totally foiled by the Bears. The ball barely got to Johnson before he was hit and being pressured by the Chicago defense. Johnson broke away form the defenders, and turned what should have been a six or seven yard loss into a four yard gain. As the game was winding down, Johnson was the target of several last minute attempts, but was well covered and they fell incomplete. He fell just short of breaking 1000 yards receiving for the season, and finished just outside of the top 20 for fantasy WRS.