Calvin Johnson shines for Detroit Lions despite injury


Megatron is indestructible. We know this now.

Calvin Johnson didn't practice all week because of a painful left knee, and his status was a game-time decision. He tested his knee before the game by running a series of routes at half-speed. Three hours later, the Detroit Lions receiver had game highs in receptions (seven) and yards (129) in a 31-14 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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This was a premier player producing despite a heavily wrapped knee. Johnson is known for his deep-play ability, but the joint wouldn't allow him to simply out-run defenders. So he did his damage where he could. Johnson avoided contact after receptions and went to the ground to minimize risk. He continuously got open and moved the ball downfield, but he avoided routes that put him in danger over the middle of the field.

Johnson didn't score, but he played an enormous part in the Lions jumping out to a 21-0 lead. Only thing he didn't do was reach the end zone. Mikel Leshoure took care of that with three rushing touchdowns.

The Lions have snuck back into playoff contention with consecutive wins and a 4-4 record. Their future schedule is brutal, but they have the chance to knock off teams in front of them. They face all three NFC North rivals, including the Green Bay Packers twice, and the Atlanta Falcons. That doesn't make life easy, but it does provide the Lions the opportunity to make up ground.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.