Coordinator Cut-Up: The Lions had been waiting for Sunday's offensive performance

Posted Oct 30, 2012

Last week was important for the offense because it was the first time it really seemed like they were in sync.

The Lions have been waiting all season for an offensive performance like the one they had in Sunday's win over the Seahawks.

It wasn’t because of the total yards gained (415) – they’ve racked up more of those this season against the Titans (583), Eagles (449) and Rams (429).

It wasn’t because of the points scored (28), either – the Lions scored 44 in a loss to the Titans.

Last week was important for the offense because it was the first time it really seemed like they were in sync. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan got production from all over the field, and quarterback Matthew Stafford was spreading the ball around.

“I've always said the focus is going to be on stopping Calvin (Johnson),” Linehan said of how opponents try to stop his offense. “The other facets of our offense have to come through - the run game, the tight end, the second and third receiver.

“Once that happens things kind of go full circle, but until you do that it's going to be a work in progress. I just felt like this last game was the best example of that."

Receiver Titus Young stepped up to the plate in the absence of veteran Nate Burleson (broken leg) and led all receivers with nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first 100-yard game of his career.

Tight ends Brandon Pettigrew (seven catches for 74 yards) and Tony Scheffler (four for 46) combined for 11 catches and 120 yards.

Receiver Ryan Broyles had a touchdown in his second consecutive game.

When the Lions get production like that, it doesn't matter that Johnson had three receptions for 46 yards and was held out of the end zone. What people don't always realize with Johnson is that even when he's not catching passes or scoring touchdowns, he's affecting the game.

"I think it's just the touchdown production,” Linehan said. “I think he's had probably four plays where he's been tackled on the one (yard line). If those are touchdowns, it looks different.

“You can't start forcing the issue and forget an offense spreads the ball around. Broyles' touchdown, if you really watch, Calvin takes everybody with him. That's how it works. When Titus caught the long touchdown, Calvin's running a shell across and everybody comes from deep to short and Titus gets behind the defense."

On the season, Johnson has 41 catches for 638 yards and one score. Those numbers are similar to last year’s numbers after seven games in terms of the catches (41) and yards (679), but he had 10 touchdowns at this point a season ago with only one this year.

Johnson has 75 targets through the first seven games this year, eight more than he did at this point last year.

Johnson may not be scoring touchdowns, but he’s getting just as many opportunities to make plays and is allowing others to score.

Isn’t that almost the same thing as scoring the touchdown himself?

Linehan also spoke to on a number of other topics
On the game Titus Young had:

"He can have those games. He's been dealing with a sore knee, but hopefully that's behind him and I think it is. It's been hard to really work on it during the week."

On Broyles' understanding of the middle of the field as a slot receiver:

"The second drive, he got a big chunk play down the field and sat right where you have to sit in that zone. Unless you understand that, it's really hard (to do). We work it, we drill it, we teach it but until you've done it or you've done it before, those are the kind of plays he's always done his college career and we were able to see some of that in this game.”

On the performance of his offensive line:

"I thought they played really good. We had one play where I think their pressure affected the play. We had a negative play. The other play was the quarterback was buying time.

"But I thought from just a clean game of the runs that we called and the protections against … I think six of our first seven games we played some of the best defenses in the NFL. You have to be on your game to have the ball up in the air 40-some times and only have really two negative plays off of those 46 or 47 passes.”

On Kevin Smith's increased role last week:

"Kevin understands our third down package very well. We have a lot of confidence in him in that role. He's the one experienced running back that understands what we're trying to get done in those situations."