Redskins 17, Lions 10

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DETROIT (AP)—Clinton Portis has run for more than 100 yards three times this season. Those are the only games Washington has won.


“No, I wouldn’t think so,” Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said.

The star running back not only beat Detroit with his legs, he also put his right arm to use.

Portis ran for 147 yards on 34 carries and threw a tiebreaking touchdown pass to lead the Redskins to a 17-10 victory over the Lions on Sunday.

Detroit rallied late, but its hopes for a tying drive ended at the Washington 20 as time expired.

“Too little. Too late,” Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.

With back-to-back 21-yard gains to open the second half, Portis became the first player to run for 100 yards against Detroit this season. Those powerful runs with sharp cutbacks set up his 15-yard pass to Laveranues Coles that gave Washington a 10-3 lead.

“It was a dream of mine, it started when I was 8,” Portis said of the first pass he’s ever thrown. “I was in (Gibbs’) ear all week about it. We ran sweeps, we ran tosses and they were expecting one of those.

“I told (Coles) I needed this for my quarterback rating.”

Taylor Jacobs blocked a punt and Walt Harris scooped up the ball and returned it 13 yards to put the Redskins ahead by 14 later in the third quarter.

Detroit drove to the Washington 28 midway through the fourth, but didn’t come away with a score because Fred Smoot intercepted Joey Harrington’s up-for-grabs pass on fourth down in the end zone.

On Detroit’s next possession, Harrington tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Cory Schlesinger to pull the Lions to 17-10 with 2:08 left.

Sean Taylor recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Redskins and though they could not pick up a first down to run out the clock, Tom Tupa’s punt pinned Detroit at its 2 with 1:36 left and no timeouts.

The last three times the Lions (4-4) lost, they faced a team that was struggling.

Washington (3-5) had lost five of six since its season-opening victory. Green Bay and Dallas ended losing skids last month against the Lions.

The Redskins might have a chance to turn it around in the second half of the season if they can figure out a way to get the ball to Portis—a lot.

In their previous two wins, Portis ran for 148 and 171 yards and averaged 32.5 carries. In their five losses, he didn’t reach 100 yards rushing and averaged 68.8 on 21 carries.

“If I can get the ball 30 times that means we played ball control and we had a good chance to win,” Portis said. “It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a great method to give yourself a chance.”

Detroit could have a respectable season if it figures out how to win at home.

The Lions are 1-3 at Ford Field and 3-1 on the road, where it lost an NFL-record 24 straight before this season.

“People said we couldn’t win on the road. Now we can’t win at home,” Harrington said.

Both quarterbacks had rough games—and weren’t helped by several dropped passes—but the difference was Mark Brunell could just hand the ball off to Portis.

Brunell was 6-of-17 for 58 yards. Coles had four catches for 46 yards and a score.

Harrington was 26-of-52 for 269 yards with a TD and an interception. Az-Zahir Hakim caught seven passes for 120 yards.

Lions rookies Kevin Jones ran for just 20 yards on 12 carries and Roy Williams had just three receptions for 33 yards. Williams did, however, add to his long list of spectacular plays with a leaping, one-handed catch.

With two of the worst offenses in the NFL and two solid defenses, the first quarter was so lackluster the punters provided highlights. Nick Harris pinned the Redskins to their 8 and 3, and Tupa had a 54-yard punt land at the 1. The second quarter was not much more entertaining, but at least each team made a field goal.


Washington DE Phillip Daniels (groin) left the game in the first half and did not return … Robert Porcher, who retired last week with a Lions-record 95.5 sacks, was given a rousing ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard early in the game.

Related Articles

Top Performers

 Top Performers
C. Portis C. Portis RB
34 Rush, 147 yds
1-1, 15 yds, 1 TD
J. Harrington J. Harrington QB
26-52, 269 yds
1 TD, 1 INT

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


  • No games this week