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(Sunday, October 31st)
Final Score: Detroit 37, Washington 25
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Making his first start since suffering a second-degree shoulder separation in the season-opener, Matthew Stafford threw for four touchdowns to lead Detroit past Washington, 37-25, at Ford Field.
Stafford completed 26-of-45 passes for 212 yards and connected with Calvin Johnson for three TDs and Brandon Pettigrew once for the Lions (2-5), who have won two of three after starting the year with four straight losses.
"Today we did a good job of overcoming a lot of big plays. The guys just kept on fighting," noted Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. "I didn't know coming in if we were ready to play, and we had a hard time finding a rhythm early, but we made the plays we needed to make to win the game."
Johnson ended with 101 yards on nine catches and Nate Burleson added 47 yards on seven receptions for Detroit, whose defense recorded seven sacks and also got a fumble recovery for a touchdown from Ndamukong Suh.
"We were on the same page the whole day, which is fun. I just tried to throw it at him and give him a chance. He made great plays, he played unbelievable today," Stafford said of his unique synergy with Johnson on Sunday.
Donovan McNabb went 17-of-30 for 210 yards, one touchdown an interception and was sacked six times for the Redskins (4-4), who had won three of four coming in. Rex Grossman was inserted for the final two drives of the contest, ending up 4-of-7 for 44 yards with a costly fumble.
Santana Moss posted six catches for 56 yards, Ryan Torain had a TD reception and Anthony Armstrong added 92 yards on three grabs. Washington also received a 96-yard kickoff return score from Brandon Banks.
"If you're asking me if we played poorly today, yes we did," admitted Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan. "We had a chance to do things early, we were up 13-7 but you have to give credit to Detroit and the way they fought at the end."
The Lions were able to take a 20-19 lead with 8:21 left in the fourth when Johnson hauled in his second touchdown catch of the game, a seven-yard score. Detroit chose to go for two and failed.
Banks then got free up the middle on the kickoff and put the Redskins on top with his first career score on a 96-yard return, but the conversion failed and it was 25-20 for the visitors.
Then, with under five minutes to play, McNabb was picked off by Alphonso Smith and Detroit got control on the Redskins' 37. Seven plays later Stafford tossed a 10-yard score to Johnson -- which gave the receiver his career-best third of the day -- and his conversion catch was good, leaving the Lions up 28-25 and 3:12 on the clock.
McNabb was sacked to end Washington's ensuing series and Detroit turned that into a 32-yard make by Jason Hanson and 31-25 contest.
Grossman was then under center for the visitors' drive starting with 1:50 left, and on the first play was sacked and coughed up the football. Suh took it on a beneficial bounce 17 yards for his first career touchdown. Once again, the conversion failed but Detroit led 37-25.
"At the end of the game with Donovan and more than a minute left I wanted to run that two-minute offense...I felt with the time left that he (Grossman) was our best chance to win in that scenario," Shanahan offered on the sudden switch.
The Redskins only made it near midfield before the clock expired.
"We had chances to put it away, and we didn't put it away," Shanahan added. "We've had too many close games this season and you're bound to lose sometimes, and that's what happened today."
Detroit got on the board early in the second quarter on a 13-yard connection from Stafford to Johnson. The score was set up by Stefan Logan's 71-yard punt return to the Washington 19.
The Redskins struck back with a 46-yard punt return from Banks to the Lions' 47. A 36-yard run from McNabb to the six followed, and a six-yard TD catch from Torain tied the game two plays later.
Washington took a 10-7 lead on a Gano 38-yard make with 1:04 to play in the half, then after holding the Lions to a three-and-out, Banks returned the punt 24 yards to the Detroit 49. Three plays later a 46-yarder from Gano made it 13-7.
Detroit's second drive of the second half proved successful, as Stafford hit Pettigrew for a two-yard score and 14-13 edge. On the kickoff, an illegal block in the back penalty wiped out a 95-yard touchdown return from Banks.
The Redskins emerged with the lead early in the fourth quarter after a 54-yard drive ended with a five-yard TD run by Keiland Williams. A two-point conversion pass failed so the visitors were up 19-14 with 11:15 to play.
Detroit has won two in a row at home over Washington and four of the last five against the Redskins in Michigan dating back to 1999...The Lions held a 304-275 edge in total offense, and held the Redskins to 2-of-14 efficiency on third downs...Suh, the Lions' second-overall pick in the 2010 draft, was credited with 4 1/2 sacks and one interception in his first seven pro games.
10/31 22:26:06 ET
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