The Washington Redskins, behind a porous defense and some poorly-timed turnovers, fell to the Detroit Lions at home for the first time in 22 tries, losing a heartbreaker, 27-20 and falling to (0-3) before a stunned crowd at FedEx Field.
The Washington faithful were treated to a game that was at least winnable after watching the Redskins fall behind early in their first two contests, but in the end, a Hail Mary pass was batted to the ground and Detroit snapped an 0-21 record on the road against the Redskins.
Against the Lions the defense played better, but poor tackling was again the culprit and the Skins now have the title of the team that has given up more yardage in a three game span than any team in NFL history.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III displayed some of last year’s magic, but also made some uncharacteristic mistakes. He threw an interception that he could have easily thrown out of bounds, wasting a scoring chance. Later in the game, he was moving the team into scoring position, and after his best run of the season, a 21-yard scamper, he fumbled and Detroit ended up with the ball at the 25-yard line with the score tied at 17 with 12:38 left to play in the game. The Lions countered with 10 straight points to put the game out of reach.
Still, Washington did play their most complete game of the season, and like the Eagles game, cornerback DeAngelo Hall gave the team an early 7-0 lead as he returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown with 9:23 to play in the first quarter.
The Redskin offense then added seven more points on a 30-yard touchdown run from running back Alfred Morris after being shut out in the first half of their two previous games. Morris provided a spark with his hard running and finished the game with 73 yards on 15 carries. The half ended with the Lions leading 17-14.
The Redskin defense was able to shut out the Lions in the third quarter, but the offense only managed a field goal, tying the game at 17-17 going into the fourth quarter.
Detroit then took the lead for good on a 28-yard field goal from kicker David Akers with 11:08 to play in the fourth quarter making the score 20-17.
Washington got the ball back, and for a moment were set to take the lead after RG3 launched a 57-yard bomb to deep threat Aldrick Robinson who appeared to catch the pass for a touchdown. Replays showed that Robinson was juggling the ball as he went to the ground. The TD was overturned. Griffin fumbled the snap on the next play and although he recovered the ball, the Redskins were forced to punt.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford then marched his team down the field, hitting wide out Calvin Johnson with the deciding touchdown, an 11-yard dart between two defenders making the score 27-17 with only 3:56 remaining in the game.
Washington countered with a 21-yard field goal to make the score 27-20 with 1:40 left in the game. The Redskins got the ball back again with :38 seconds but were unable to score.
RG3 completed 32 of 50 passes for 326 yards but his turnovers were costly. He was more of a running threat this game and finished with 37 yards on six carries. His 21-yard dash was good to see but the fumble at the end of the run squashed a scoring chance.
Stafford carved up a Washington secondary that did have some stops in the red zone, but in the end he still completed 25 of 42 passes for 385 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had two 100-yard receivers. Nate Burleson ended the game with 116 yards on only six catches, and Johnson finished with 115 yards on seven receptions and one touchdown.
Washington also gave up too many rushing yards to back up running back Joique Bell, who finished with 63 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Sure tackling would have reduced his yards but Washington struggled to bring down Bell, who bounced off defenders while scoring the Lions first touchdown on a 12-yard run.
The Redskins now travel to Oakland to take on the (1-2) Raiders. After being soundly beaten in their first two games by halftime, Washington played a full 60 minutes but just fell short of their first victory of the year. Last year Washington ran off seven straight wins after beginning the year 3-6 so they seem to be at their best when their backs are against the wall. They will have to pull off the same type of comeback this year if they hope to defend their NFC East title.