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Calvin Johnson not to blame for Detroit Lions' 1-2 start

Calvin Johnson leads the NFL in receiving yards (369) and is ranked No. 3 in receptions (24).

Those numbers are pretty impressive considering Megatron is shadowed by two or three defenders on most plays.

Still, Johnson's Detroit Lions are 1-2, and much of that has to do with their sluggish starts. They have scored 38 total points in the first three quarters this season, in contrast to the 49 they have tallied in fourth quarters alone.

Sixteen of Johnson's receptions and 251 yards have come after halftime.

Some believe the offense would score sooner if Megatron was involved earlier.

"We've had probably more carries the first three games than we have, probably, in the first three games of any of the seasons I've been here -- for the same reason that Calvin's not having a lot of early production," Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Detroit Free Press. "But we're going to work on improving that."

The Lions already force the ball to Johnson. His 31 targets are tied for the 10th in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne leads the league with 40. Johnson was No. 3 on the list in 2011 with 9.875 targets per game, and he's ahead of that pace in 2012 (10.333).

"Calvin's certainly targeted, probably, more so than any other receiver in pro football by game's end, and we've got to continue to make sure we do a good job of that, and we're always working to improve early production of guys like that," Linehan said. "Right now, it's kind of coming out of some of the other weapons in our offense early in games."

What the Lions need is better quarterback play. Matthew Stafford has slumped and watched his numbers drop across the board. His yards per game, touchdown-to-interception ratio and passer rating have plummeted.

That's the issue with the Lions' offense right now.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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