The San Francisco 49ers’ secondary handled the tough task of the Packers wide receivers in week one of the season. The job does not get any easier in week two against Calvin “Megatron” Johnson and the Detroit Lions passing attack. Carlos Rogers limited the Packers No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings to just five receptions, 35 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. With the attention focused on taking Jennings out of plays, the rest of the secondary did an excellent job of limiting the Packers offense to just two touchdowns, even though they gave up 303 passing yards.
The Lions passing offense will be a little more difficult to defend against than the Packers, because they have a respectable running game with Kevin Smith. The Packers tried running the football against the 49ers, but running back Cedric Benson only averaged two yards per carry on nine rushes. Even though Smith only ran for 62 yards on 13 carries against the Rams, he is a bigger threat than Benson and the 49ers defense will need to account for the run game.
Megatron is not the only receiving threat for the Lions offense. They also have Nate Burleson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who combined for 11 receptions and 146 receiving yards against the Rams. The 49ers’ secondary and linebackers will be able to keep in check the other receivers on the Lions. But, with Johnson no matter how many defenders you have in coverage against him, he will stay make plays. The Rams last week constantly double teamed Johnson and sometimes had as many as four defenders on him. He still managed to grab six receptions for 111 yards. Even though he did not score a touchdown, he was responsible for the game-winning TD for the Lions last week. In the final seconds of the game, the Rams had four defenders on Johnson which allowed Kevin Smith to get open on the flat and haul in a five-yard touchdown, putting them up 27-23.
One stat to look at in the Lions versus Rams game was Matthew Stafford throwing three interceptions. The Rams defense was aggressive all game with their pass rush and it paid off on some plays. But they left themselves exposed in the secondary at times which Stafford exploited for 355 yards and one touchdown. The 49ers defense will do a better job than the Rams defense against the Lions because of their superior rushing attack.
Last season against the Lions, the 49ers threw different pass rushing looks at Stafford and mixed up their coverage’s against Johnson. Johnson did catch seven passes for 113 yards, but more significantly he did not score a touchdown. One important key to pull out the win is the 49ers defense will need to keep Megatron out of the end zone. The defense will only be successful in this if they can generate the type of pass rush they had against the Packers.
Terrell Brown on Calvin Johnson,
They get him the ball. He’s the featured guy. Everybody knows that. The thing for us is to play our style of football. Go out there and try to be physical. Go out and there and get our hands on him. Try to slow that guy down. He’s going to make catches, but you want to limit his yards after the catch. And go out there and compete with him for every jump ball.