Lions finally win in Washington

The SportsXchange

LANDOVER, Md. -- The streak finally came to an end on Sunday. After losing in all 21 previous visits to the nation's capital, Detroit's offense was too much for Washington's beleaguered defense as the Lions prevailed 27-20.

"I'm as proud as can be of our team," said coach Jim Schwartz, whose team improved to 2-1. "That was a tough, hard-fought battle. But we didn't carry a banner here that said, 'Remember That We've Never Won in Washington.'"

A 47-yard catch by Detroit No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson -- one of his six receptions for 116 yards on the day -- set up David Akers' field goal that broke a 17-17 deadlock with 11:08 to go.

"They were leaning the safety big-time to Calvin's side every time," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said about All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson. "That's what Nate does when they pay that much attention to Calvin."

Burleson's big grab came two plays after Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III fumbled while diving forward instead of sliding at the end of his season-long 21-yard gallop to the Detroit 29.

"Probably next time he ll slide feet first," said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

Griffin, who completed 32 of his 50 pass attempts for 326 yards and an interception, seemingly gave the Redskins the lead four plays after Akers' 28-yard kick, but receiver Aldrick Robinson was ruled to have failed to maintain possession of a 57-yard bomb in the end zone.

Instead, the drive ended in a punt, and the Lions (2-1) extended their lead on the following drive courtesy of an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to Johnson (seven catches, 115 yards).

"When Calvin's covered, he's still open," Schwartz said.

The drive was extended by Stafford sneaking for the first down on 4t-and-inches at the Washington 12-yard line. Schwartz never hesitated going for it, reasoning that kicking a field goal for six-point lead could still get his team beaten by a Redskins' touchdown.

John Potter's 21-yard field goal for the Redskins with 1:40 left got the Redskins back within a touchdown. However, they failed to recover an onside kick, and after forcing a punt could not reach the end zone. The defending NFC East champions fell to 0-3, a start that only three of 115 teams have recovered from to reach the playoffs dating to 1990, none since 1998.

"If you had said we d start 0-3, we'd all be shocked," Griffin said.|

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall gave Washington a 7-0 lead just 5:37 into the game, picking off Stafford's pass for Johnson in the right flat and returning it 17 yards for his eighth career touchdown. Hall joined Champ Bailey, Ed Reed, Asante Samuel and Charles Woodson as the active players with 40 career interceptions.

Detroit's next two drives each ended in touchdowns. The first, an eight-play, 85-yard march featured a 37-yard catch by injured running back Reggie Bush's replacement, Joique Bell, who finished off the series with a 12-yard scoring burst with 5:14 left in the first quarter.

The Redskins went three-and-out before the Lions used Johnson's catches of 18 and 20 yards and grabs of 17 and 15 yards by Ryan Broyles and Burleson, respectively, to put Detroit on the Washington 18. Bell powered 13 yards on the next play. On third-and-goal, rookie tight end Joseph Fauria outleaped linebacker Brian Orakpo and safety Brandon Meriweather in the end zone to make it Lions 14-7 just 13 seconds into the second quarter.

Washington's offense finally ended its season-long first half drought on Alfred Morris' game-tying 30-yard untouched sprint to the right corner of the end zone with 3:29 left before halftime. However, Stafford and Burleson teamed for a 41-yard reception that set up Akers' 32-yard field goal that gave Detroit a 17-14 halftime edge.

Potter, subbing for Kai Forbath (groin), deadlocked the game again with a 43-yard field goal that finished the first series of the second half.

NOTES: TE Fred Davis, who injured an ankle during Friday's practice, was inactive for the Redskins, who lost rookie OLB Brandon Jenkins to a right ankle injury during the second quarter and rookie TE Jordan Reed to a bruised right quad during the third quarter. ... Detroit DE Jason Jones suffered a season-ending ruptured left patella tendon during the second quarter. ... Washington linebacker London Fletcher tied the retired Bill Romanoski's record by a defensive player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merge of 243 consecutive games. ... Stafford finished the day 25-42, throwing for 385 yards, two touchdowns and an interception
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