Posted by ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert
It was hard watching the end of this game without wondering if an injury cost Detroit a chance at a huge upset.
From the looks of it, the Lions played a messy game Sunday against Pittsburgh. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw one interception and was sacked seven times, including three successive plays on the Lions’ final drive. Ultimately, his Hail Mary pass from the Steelers’ 45-yard line fell short on the final play of the game.
But would Calvin Johnson have made a difference on that drive? We’ll never know. Johnson left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a strained leg muscle and did not return. When Culpepper was under duress from the Steelers -- and especially when it came time for a Hail Mary -- it would have been nice to have the best big receiver in the game on the field.
I’m not saying that Johnson would have won the game for the Lions. But it’s indicative of the Lions’ injury-plagued season thus far that, with a chance to upset the defending Super Bowl champion, they were without the services of their primary weapon.