By Chris Morgan
Heading into Detroit’s week three game against Washington, you probably heard how the Lions hadn’t won in Washington since, well, ever. The last time they beat this franchise, the team played in Boston. However, this year’s Washington team was off to a slow start, and they had been bad on defense. This was good for the Lions offense, but they would have to do things without Reggie Bush, who missed the game due to a knee injury. Well, the road loss streak is over, as the Lions held on for a 27-20 win to move to 2-1 on the season. Here’s a look at their performances in four areas of the game.
Quarterback Grade: B-
Things started off poorly for Matthew Stafford, as he threw a bad interception into the hands of DeAngelo Hall, which Hall returned for a touchdown. However, he bounced back to throw two touchdowns on the game, one to Joseph Fauria and one to Calvin Johnson. That being said, the touchdown to Fauria would have been an overthrow to most receivers, as the lanky Fauria really had to stretch to catch it. Stafford went 25 for 42 for 385 yards – that’s 9.2 yards per attempt – and he converted a 2-yard run on fourth down late that lead to a touchdown. The numbers for Stafford look a little better than the performance, but he still had a decent game.
Offense Grade: A-
The Lions put up 441 yards on offense but, it must be remembered, Washington’s defense has been horrible so far. This was the fewest number of points put up against Washington this season. Still, 27 points is nothing to sneeze at, especially since Bush was out. Joique Bell was fine in his absence, however. He rushed 20 times for 63 yards and a touchdown, and he caught four passes for 69 yards. Johnson had seven receptions for 115 yards and a score, While Nate Burleson had six catches for 116 yards. Ryan Broyles finally played, catching three passes for 37 yards. Against tougher competition, this would be an A performance, but the weak Washington defense knocks the grade down.
Special Teams Grade: B
Detroit gave up a few big kickoff returns, but nothing backbreaking. Their own return game was mediocre. David Akers made both of his field goal attempts and all three of his extra points. Sam Martin had a good day punting, averaging 52.5 yards per attempt, thanks in part to a big 72-yard effort.
Defense Grade: B+
Washington’s defense has been bad, but their offense has been fine, and the Lions held them to 13 points, as one touchdown was defensive. Washington did gain 420 yards, however. Chris Houston got an interception, and Robert Griffin III fumbled three times, although Detroit only recovered one of them, and it was on a fumble that was basically just an error by RG3. The Lions picked up two sacks on defense, both by promising rookie Ezekiel Ansah, who also had a tackle for a loss. Detroit’s defenses bent, but it did not break, and it was enough to help secure the historic road win.
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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .