By Ashley Dunkak
After catching six of the nine passes thrown his way and racking up 116 yards, Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson spotted a video camera checking him out and hammed it up, preening and then spreading his arms and nodding his head contentedly, confidently.
He glanced around him and then jogged up to the camera.
“We on? We live?” he asked, then broke out a trademark grin. “Not bad for 32, huh?”
He looked right in the camera, and he winked.
Then Calvin Johnson – who logged 115 receiving yards against Washington – ran up and gave his buddy a shove, yelling, “Get out of the camera, man!” and shepherding a laughing Burleson toward the tunnel.
They had good reason for their good mood. The Lions snapped a 21-game losing streak in Washington, but more importantly, they showed that their offense – even against a mediocre-at-best defense – could function without the services of dual threat running back Reggie Bush.
Bush was questionable for the game with a knee injury and ended up sitting down. When he left in week two against Arizona, the Lions folded in the second half. This time, they looked much better.
Detroit amassed 441 yards of offense, although – predictably, with Bush out – only 63 of those yards came on the ground. Coaches always talk about taking what defenses give them, and the Lions certainly lived that philosophy Sunday, and it worked.
Whether the Lions can be so effective against a sturdier opponent (the Redskins are now 0-3) remains to be seen, but with the Chicago Bears up next, Detroit will surely find out soon.
The Lions struggled on third down, converting just four of 13 such opportunities.
Having Bush could make all the difference, but when he will be available again is still up in the air.