Lions fall to Packers 22-9 with Johnson sidelined
With their star receiver watching warmups from the sideline in a T-shirt and a gray backward Detroit cap, the undermanned Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers 22-9 on Sunday.
Not that they used Johnson's absence as an excuse.
"We didn't get it done well enough today -- offense, defense or special teams," coach Jim Schwartz said. "With or without Calvin, that was the story of the game -- not whether Calvin played or not."
It sure didn't help, though.
Reggie Bush was held to 44 yards on 13 carries and four catches for 25 yards. The Packers' improved run defense mostly contained the dangerous Bush on first down, leaving the Lions with long second- and third-down situations.
The Packers (2-2) extended their winning streak in Wisconsin over the Lions to 23.
Still, the Lions trailed by just 16 late because the Packers had to settle for field goals. They drove to the Packers 30 with 7:16 left before three straight incompletions left them headed back to the sideline.
Detroit especially felt Johnson's absence then. A pass attempt on fourth-and-3 went awry after Kris Durham slipped on the turf.
Schwartz declined to offer more details on the extent of Johnson's injury. Listed as questionable, Johnson missed a couple days of practice last week before taking part on a limited basis Friday.
Johnson missed his first regular-season game since 2010. Matthew Stafford, who finished 25 for 40 for 262 yards, said he had an inkling Saturday that Johnson might be out.
"He's one of the guys on our team that can stretch the field," Stafford said. "I know he wanted to be out there. It's a tough situation we were in."
The Lions' only touchdown came late when Stafford found Durham for a 13-yard score.
"Just being able to keep them in short and intermediate passes definitely helped us out," Packers linebacker Mike Neal said. "Calvin's a big part of their game plan, and without him, I think they put a lot on other guys. It was a big plus for us."
For a change, defense set the pace for the Packers before the offense caught up.
Mason Crosby kicked five field goals. The Green Bay offense struggled to get into the end zone until Rodgers found James Jones on an 83-yard scoring pass down the left sideline for a 16-3 lead late in the third quarter.
"We held them to five field goals," safety Glover Quin said. "The only touchdown they scored was a big play, so if they don't get that play, we probably hold them to another field goal."
Rodgers was 20 for 30 for 274 yards, and Eddie Lacy ran for 99 yards on 23 carries in his return from a concussion. Jones finished with four catches for 127 yards.
Randall Cobb set up Crosby's 31-yard field goal in the third quarter with a 67-yard dash into Lions territory after lining up in the backfield. Crosby also was good from 26 and 52 yards in the first half and added makes from 42 and 45 in the fourth quarter.
"That's Mason. You guys really don't get to see him in practice, but that's what he does in practice," said safety Morgan Burnett, who made his 2013 debut after recovering from a hamstring injury. "He's money all of the time."
Otherwise, touchdowns were rare in a game featuring two of the top offensive teams in the league coming into Sunday. The Lions were sixth, while the Packers were third.
The Packers recorded five sacks, including one from Clay Matthews before he left with a thumb injury.
And mistakes hurt both teams. They combined for 17 penalties, 10 for the Packers.
Detroit hasn't won on the road in this series since 1991. ... WR Kevin Ogletree had two catches for 20 yards in his first game for Detroit. He was signed Thursday after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the week. ... Starting RT Jason Fox left with a knee injury, while backup RB Theo Riddick was also out after being evaluated for a head injury ... Packers starting LB Brad Jones left in the first half with a hamstring injury. Later, his replacement, Robert Francois, had to be helped off the field favoring his right leg. ... TE Brandon Pettigrew led Lions receivers with four catches for 59 yards.
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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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