After an optimistic week of preparation in which the Detroit Lions looked forward to a third-consecutive divisional win, things didn't feel right from the outset.
“We certainly game planned for his absence," said head coach Jim Schwartz following the Lions' 22-9 loss.
"We were prepared in any case. We were prepared for him to go in and do everything, prepared for him to be limited and prepared for him to not play. He ended up not playing today. It didn’t take us by surprise. We knew he didn’t practice very much this week.”
For fans, though, this was somewhat unexpected considering Megatron hasn't missed a game since the 2010 season finale.
"It's tough," said Johnson following the game. "You see your boys out there grinding and not to be able to be out there with (them is tough). You always want to be out there to play with them. Especially on Sundays, it's the one chance of the week."
For two of the highest-scoring offenses in the NFL, the game had an odd complexion.
With Johnson out of the game, the Lions looked to lean on the run game as well as Detroit's supporting offensive cast.
“They didn’t really stack the box today,” Bush said. “We saw some six-man boxes and we should have taken advantage of that. We had the chance and we didn’t. I have to do a better job of running the ball. I've got to be better.”
MORE STORYLINES SURROUNDING THE LIONS AT PACKERS GAME:
- What did Calvin Johnson's absence mean in the Lions' 22-9 loss at Green Bay? Mike O'Hara explores this and other Burning Questions.
- O'Hara's take on the game? The Lions did not walk away from the loss looking like a first-place team.
- Though Schwartz downplayed the significance of Johnson sitting out of Sunday's game, Tim Twentyman attributes the offense's inability to get going on just that.
- Third-down defense took a turn this week. After leading the league by a considerable margin, the Packers converted 44-percent on Sunday.
DeAndre Levycontinues to play well this season, once again leading the team in tackles.