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Did Matthew Stafford live by the Calvin Johnson jump ball in 2011? Part 3 of 4

This is Part 3 in a four-part series examining every ball thrown to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in the 2011 regular season.  Conventional wisdom holds that the Lions relied excessively on the Calvin Johnson jump ball in 2011, thereby inflating quarterback Matthew Stafford’s production.  In this installment, we examine Weeks 5 through 9.  If you haven’t read Part 1, which outlines the consensus definition used to evaluate passes in this series, or Part 2, which explores Weeks 1 through 4, please do so now.

Calvin Johnson: jump ball specialist?

In our previous installment, we looked at every attempt to Calvin Johnson from Weeks 1 through 4 of the 2011 season. Now we turn to Weeks 5 through 9.

To the tape.

Note: The numbers in parentheses denote the number of jump balls thrown to Calvin Johnson compared to the number of targets he received in that game.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson hauls in a pass over the top of Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson hauls in a pass over the top of Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman in this file image from 2010.

Chicago (1/7)

Another day that really lacked jump-ball attempts for Calvin Johnson.

The first attempt was a deep pass to Johnson that ended in a big touchdown. Cornerback Charles Tillman let Johnson go and failed to re-route, while quarterback Matthew Stafford, under no pressure, hit Johnson in stride, giving safety Chris Harris no chance at the ball, and Johnson simply ran past him and beat safety Brandon Meriweather with speed for the score. (Incidentally, Harris’ lapse on this play may well have factored into the Bears’ decision to cut him; he was subsequently claimed off waivers by the Lions).

Other attempts that day included

  • a 15-yard comeback
  • a curl for 12 yards in which Stafford forced the throw down the seam, cornerback D.J. Moore read the route perfectly, and stepped underneath for the pick right before halftime
  • another slant for 12 yards; and
  • a deep comeback for 13 yards.

The lone jump ball was just a hair too long on a throw neither Calvin nor the Tillman could catch.

Verdict: Big day for Johnson in which the jump ball did not factor — and it may have even played a negative role if you want to consider the seam pick by Moore as a jump ball.

San Francisco (2/9)

Calvin Johnson eludes the tackle of a prostrate San Francisco 49ers defender.

Calvin Johnson eludes the tackle of a prostrate San Francisco 49ers defender.

There were two jump balls in this game made infamous by “HandshakeGate.” One jump ball missed high over everyone and went out of bounds. The other jumper occurred on a failed two-point conversion attempt in which Stafford underthrew Johnson in the end one.

The other seven passes to Johnson were

  • a crossing route for 11 yards
  • a short in route for 7 yards
  • a back-shoulder attempt on the sideline that sailed incomplete
  • a deep in at the sticks for 11 yards
  • a wide-open deep in for 9 yards
  • a go route down the seam wide open for 41 yards (unbelievable they let Calvin that wide open down the middle); and
  • a deep in for 11 yards on the last play with some laterals.

Verdict: Jump balls to Calvin Johnson played no role in the outcome of this game.

Calvin Johnson runs into traffic as Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCloud takes him to the turf.

Calvin Johnson runs into traffic as Atlanta Falcons safety Thomas DeCloud takes him to the turf.

Atlanta (2/11)

This game featured two jump balls — and continuing a recurring theme, both fell incomplete. One was a deep ball on which Johnson had separation but Stafford underthrew it underthrown, and cornerback Brent Grimes made a great play despite his diminutive height to jump up and knock it down. The other jumper came when Stafford was under pressure and overthrew Johnson in one-on-one coverage.

The other 9 balls were

  • a misfire on a curl short across the middle
  • a dropped slant
  • a deep in for 25 yards wide open in middle of the field
  • a short slant for 5 yards
  • a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage
  • a deep slant thrown behind a Johnson open in the end zone
  • a slant for 9 yards
  • a seam route that Stafford placed perfectly over the linebackers to a wide-open Johnson, who made a quick move to beat safety William Moore for a 54-yard touchdown; and
  • a 19-yard deep in route.

Verdict: Jump balls had no impact on this game.  Calvin Johnson’s touchdown came on a long pass, but Stafford and Johnson did a great job combining to get Johnson open behind the linebackers and in front of the safety, and Johnson did the rest.

Calvin Johnson escapes the tackle of Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris to notch the first down.

Calvin Johnson escapes the tackle of Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris to notch the first down.

At Denver (0/7)

The Lions needed no jump balls to Tebow the Timmy and didn’t even attempt any.

Calvin Johnson pulled in his share of yards on

  • a peep in at the sticks for 11 yards
  • a wide-open zone beater in the middle of field for 19 yards
  • a slant over the middle for 17 yards
  • a wide-open receiver screen for 13 yards
  • an incomplete slant
  • a slant for 9 yards; and
  • a 56-yard pass on which Johnson got separation to catch a rope from Stafford in stride and beat cornerback Champ Bailey down the left sideline.

Verdict: Calvin Johnson’s performance was highlighted not by the jump ball but by a great deep pass.

Calvin Johnson stiff-arms Chicago Bears free safety Brandon Meriweather en route to a 73-yard touchdown.

Calvin Johnson stiff-arms Chicago Bears free safety Brandon Meriweather en route to a 73-yard touchdown.

At Chicago (5/18)

The infamous WindGate game — or should we call it the FingerGate game?  Not Calvin Johnson’s best performance by any stretch of the imagination.  The Lions attempted a lot of passes to Johnson, including a significant proportion of jump balls.

Three of these went incomplete. The first was a pass against one-on-one coverage down the sidelines that Stafford threw too high. The second was a throw into double coverage on 1st-and-goal that was knocked down. The third was picked off easily for a score by Tillman as Stafford tried and failed to throw it over him with a safety behind Calvin. The fourth was an incomplete into double coverage that linebacker Brian Urlacher knocked down. The final was just a throw into triple coverage that cornerback Corey Graham picked off.

Jump balls and broken fingers do not mix.

The other 13 throws resulted in a mixed bag of results:

  • A deep in with Johnson open complete for 17 yards
  • a curl wide open for 9 yards
  • the famous wide receiver screen Johnson completed but fumbled when he was leveled by defensive end Julius Peppers
  • a slant for 6 yards
  • a comeback wide open but dropped by Johnson
  • a slant for 6 yards
  • a throwaway
  • a deep in knocked down by Tillman,
  • a late 40-yard rope down the sidelines to Johnson who had separation on Tillman
  • a post route misfired that Johnson dove for and missed; and
  • the slant on which linebacker Lance Briggs put a big hit on Johnson.

Verdict: A bad day for Calvin Johnson with lots of passes, “lots of wind,” and a lack of production with the jump ball.

For the conclusion to this series, read Part 4 now.

264 comments
GBChic
GBChic

Good evening fellow NFCNers!

 

ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it
ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it

re: Abe Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

 

3,749 IMDb users have given a weighted average vote of 6.5 / 10

 

Males in my age group gave it a 5.9

 

Ebert was surprised by how good it was and gave it 3 stars

 

Travers hasn't reviewed it (not a good sign)

 

Personally, I'll wait for the DVD

 

natesweet
natesweet moderator

It's Your Dime is on in 10 minutes.  Come join the chat.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

Comment from a Tony Parker eye damage article:

 

"How about the Spurs get Tony a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas? No wait........"

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

You guys heard of "Living Social"?  So, they have an offer pool called "Escapes" where the offer is to a fun destination.  Today I got an email titled "Overnight in Indianapolis for 2".  Who escapes TO Indianapolis?  Escape FROM Indianapolis I can understand!

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

uh-oh Mike Tyson has competition. Billy Ray Cyrus is heading to Broadway 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

huh Tony Parker almost lost his eye in the fight over Rihanna. a shard of glass penetrated 99%of his left eye 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

anybody see Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

this just in Serena Williams is done 

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

 @SDL I some time ago found out that Baters is actually a REAL British last name.   If those dudes were rich and had a butler can you imagine some guy in a tux constantly calling out Master Baters?

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

 @GBChic WOW!   You are alive?  I had contacted the FBI to look for you some time back.

Gabes22
Gabes22 moderator

 @SDL

 Wait for the DVD.  I will wait till I am up at 3AM on a weekday and there is nothing else on and I can't fall asleep.

Gabes22
Gabes22 moderator

 @tmonson78

 You're gonna poke your eye out!!

You're gonna poke your eye out!!

You're gonna poke your eye out!!

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 @aciddragon Don't tell Mike's heart, his achy-breaky heart.

 

I just don't think he'd understand.

Gabes22
Gabes22 moderator

 @MiracleMan

 Brett Favre was wondering why it took you so long to ask him.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 @MiracleMan Then when asked again, he said he would take Luck over RGIII when starting a team.

Gabes22
Gabes22 moderator

 @MiracleMan

 I don't find her attractive.  Her hair is too short, she has no curves, and for someone that sings that badly to make as much money as she does signing, you would think she would have to be smoking hot.

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

 @aciddragon So a week ago...did you see the lawsuit to the night club operator for like $20M because two rap morons had a fight?

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 @aciddragon Well, if he lost Rihanna, he can always just bang another teammate's wife.

GBChic
GBChic

 @LambeauOrWrigley I'm currently working two jobs.  It's kicking my ass.  To add insult to injury, the new job won't allow me "extracurricular" internet usage.  Bastids.

 

Anyway, I'm not a big fan of MORE computer time most of the time these days.  ;)

 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

 @GBChic  @Natesweet refresh the main page and go to the "its your dime" article , its a podcast with a chat room 

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

 @tmonson78 Aha!  Obviously not a NASCAR fan and totally missed that pool.  Is it in the coming weeks or something?

Gabes22
Gabes22 moderator

 @tmonson78

 Remember, when talking to Mike Tyson, he's not offended when you call him a rapist, but is when you call him a recluse.

 

"He called me a rapist and a recluse.  I am not a recluse!!"

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

 @tmonson78 and if he tells his heart, his acky breaky heart, he might blow up and bite his ear 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

 @LambeauOrWrigley yeah instead of suing the idiots fighting he sues the club.  but they are saying the damage is much worse than thought and may be career threatening 

ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it
ARodge is the GOAT... and you Favre-ing know it

 @tmonson78  @aciddragon 

 

Here's how you make that decision: 

 

1  Go to IMDB and check reviews / ratings by your gender and age group and look at the overall rating

 

2  Find a critic or two that you agree with / trust

 

3  Read a review by your most trusted / reliable critic

 

(for me that's Roger Ebert - except for foreign films - and Peter Travers.  Never had a significant disagreement with Travers)

 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

 @tmonson78 no i haven't seen it i was hoping someone else did to see if it was worth checking out 

aciddragon
aciddragon moderator

 @tmonson78 yeah he could beat the crap out of those tiny little russians 

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 @LambeauOrWrigley I'm not a fan of either "sport," but I know the Indy racing league is different than NASCAR.

tmonson78
tmonson78 moderator

 @aciddragon I know you haven't seen it, I was just adding my question to yours.

 

Sorry if it didn't make sense.