Lions’ Johnson takes flubbing onside kick hard

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t give star wide receiver Calvin Johnson a hard time over dropping an onside kick that would’ve sealed last Sunday’s win in Green Bay before some stressful final moments.

“He does enough positive stuff for us that I let it slide, especially since we won,” Stafford said.

But, after dropping the critical kick, Johnson didn’t need to hear anything from his teammates. He knows he messed up.

“I gave myself enough of a hard time,” he said. “I was hurt after that, so can’t nobody else give me a worse feeling than I gave myself after that one.”

The Packers cut the Lions’ lead to 18-16 with 32 seconds left and needed the ball back after missing a 2-point try that would’ve tied the game. Mason Crosby’s onside kick bounced high toward where Johnson was standing, and he couldn’t make the catch after leaping higher than the other people in the area.

“On my part, I misjudged the ball,” he said. “It actually got up on me faster than I thought it was. I thought I was going to go up and come right down, and it got up on my back shoulder before I could even make an adjustment to it.”

Johnson said it was right for him to try to corral the ball against his body, instead of just using his hands, because the members of the kicking team were going to try to knock it free.

Instead, Packers cornerback Damarious Randall just grabbed the ball on the ground, giving Green Bay a chance to win the game. Fortunately for the Lions, Crosby missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

“I was too aggressive probably if anything,” Johnson said. “Should’ve been a little more patient.”