Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Lions’ Stafford not making any excuses


Green Bay's Clay Matthews sacks Matthew Stafford on Sunday in Green Bay. The Packers sacked Stafford five times, matching the most times he's been sacked in a game.


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Matthew Stafford insisted the Detroit Lions' offense can still perform without Calvin Johnson.

It didn't look that way in Sunday's 22-9 loss at Green Bay.

The Packers sacked Stafford five times — matching the most he has been sacked — slowed down speedy running back Reggie Bush, and shut down the passing game.

"We have to have guys step up," Stafford said Tuesday. "I have to play better. As an offense, we know we have to play better."

Stafford was sacked just three times in the first four games in part because Johnson could get separation from defensive backs and open up opportunities for teammates.

The Packers, though, were able to get away with single coverage against receivers who couldn't get open.

"It forced Matthew to hold the ball a little longer," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. "I think that played into it. It's not always about an offensive lineman versus a pass rusher. Sometimes it's about a wide receiver versus a corner. I thought it certainly had an impact on the game."

None of Detroit's wide receivers had more than three receptions or more than 30 yards receiving at Green Bay. Stafford was relegated to throwing more often to tight ends and running backs, who combined to make 16 receptions.

Johnson was inactive because of an injured right knee and couldn't say if he will be able to play for the Lions (3-2) at Cleveland (3-2) on Sunday.

"We shall see," Johnson said Tuesday as he walked out of the locker room with his right knee wrapped.

Detroit also didn't have No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson for a second straight game.

Stafford said he doesn't think about excuses, such as missing receivers or getting sacked so much, when he looks back at Sunday's loss and ahead to the matchup with the Browns.

"I know where I can play better," he said. "All I think about is how can I help this team win."

Falcons’ Jones injured

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons could lose Julio Jones for the season after the Pro Bowl receiver injured his foot Monday in a 30-28 loss to the New York Jets.

Coach Mike Smith says Jones, the NFL leader with 41 catches, did not get encouraging results from a visit with doctors Tuesday morning.

Smith added that Jones will see a foot specialist today in Charlotte, N.C., for a second opinion. Jones ranks second with 580 yards receiving.

The Falcons (1-4) lost four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White to a hamstring injury during the game. A high ankle sprain has nagged White, who has only 14 catches for 129 yards receiving. Running back Steven Jackson has missed the last three games.

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