TWENTYMAN: Lions offense appears lost without Calvin Johnson

Posted Dec 29, 2013

The third-ranked Lions offense has mustered just 56 total yards in the first half without receiver Calvin Johnson

The last time the Lions played a football game without receiver Calvin Johnson was in early October in Green Bay and the offense managed just 286 total yards and nine points.

They’re without their Pro Bowl receiver for the second time this season -- today in Minnesota -- and the offense looks just as lost as it did back in October, maybe worse.

The drive chart for the Lions in the first half was consistent if anything: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, end of half.

The offense recorded just 56 yards of total offense. Quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled to find open receivers as the Vikings stacked the box not fearing the threat of Johnson and big play over the top. Stafford is just 8-of-12 for 43 yards at halftime as the Lions trail 7-0.

The first 30 minutes of this game proves the Lions need to find another receiving threat on the outside this offseason. This is also the kind of game where the Lions miss tight end Brandon Pettigrew, in pass protection, run blocking and as a receiver.

Detroit has two catches for 12 yards from the wide receiver position -- both by Nate Burleson -- in the first half.

The Vikings entered the game as the NFL's last-ranked passing defense allowing 294.4 yards per game.

The Vikings are without running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, yet has still managed 107 rushing yards.