So, as we all know, the lions, after a miserable first half, after being down 20-0 and having their offense stifled by a vicious Minnesota pass rush, came roaring back in the second half to win 26-23 in OT. Matthew Stafford had over 300 yards passing after halftime, after being held to 68 yards before it. So, who was the MVP of this game?
You ask most people, they seem to think it was Calvin Johnson. I've seen numerous people post here that Megatron is the definite MVP of the game. I've also seen it in the media. NFL.com game highlights? All Calvin Johnson. Take Detroit News columnist Mike O'Hara
Its an understandable position. CJ had 2 key TD catches, one highlight-reel worthy jumpball TD over Chris Cook of the kind we've all become spoiled by, and a catch to set up the game winning field goal that was a work of art that reminded me of everything that is good and beautiful in this world. But that's to be expected of Calvin, once he is put into single coverage. But where was he the first half? Double covered, that's where.
That's why, if you ask me, the real unsung hero of this game was Brandon Pettigrew. First of all, he was playing hurt, questionable with a bum shoulder. So, some toughness points there. Second of all, the big difference between the lions offense in the first half and in the second half was Pettigrew became the featured part of the offense. In the first half, Stafford did not have the time to throw the ball, and even if he did, Calvin was being covered, and covered well. In the second half, when he was under pressure, he found Pettigrew over and over and over for first down after first down after first down. It was only after the Vikings were respecting the 'Grew, and putting a safety on him that Calvin became free to abuse his one-on-one coverage. So, really Pettigrew, besides for being extremely valuable on his own, was the biggest enabler of Calvin Johnson being more of a weapon in the second half.
I've said this many time to my friends, and I'll say it here: The Lions offense is built on versatility, on the ability to use the players it has in a variety of different ways to be able to beat defenses in a variety of different ways. The play of the tight ends, Pettigrew and Scheffler, who can run block, pass block, or be part of the passing game, is a key part of that plan. This is why Pettigrew was drafted in that 2009 draft, and why Mayhew traded for Scheffler that same offseason, ahead of an OT, WR, or RB. Because they contribute to all those areas. Pettigrew is a key part of our offense, and really showed that today. He may not have gotten on the highlight reel, but a win would have been impossible without him.