Reporting Chuck Carroll
LANDOVER, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — The Detroit Lions had never beaten the Redskins in Washington before Sunday.
Although Robert Griffin III continued to show signs of knocking rust off, the quarterback also made clear he is far from 2012 form as the Lions upended the Redskins 27-20 in front of a crowd of 80,111 FedEx Field.
Detroit’s last win away from home in the series came in 1935 against the Boston Redskins, two years before the move to Washington.
Griffin and Co. are now 0-3 on the season and face nearly insurmountable odds of playing beyond the regular season. Since 1990, less than three percent of teams winless through the first three games of the year have made the playoffs.
Griffin’s rust was on display in the second quarter when he threw ill-advised pass that was picked off by Detroit’s Chris Houston, ending what had been the team’s most promising drive of the day until that point.
It was Griffin’s fourth interception of the young season. He threw just five interceptions all of last season.
However, it was a fourth quarter Griffin fumble that proved most costly for the Redskins. Following a 21-yard run, Griffin slid head first and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Lions safety Glover Quin. Had he opted to slide feet first, Griffin would have been ruled down.
On the ensuing drive, one-time Redskins kicker David Akers put the Lions ahead 20-17. They would not relinquish the advantage.
The proverbial nail in the coffin came on Washington’s next offensive series when Aldrick Robinson had a touchdown catch in his hands, but couldn’t quite maintain possession as he hit the ground in the end zone. The team would punt three plays later.
The Lions got their insurance touchdown with 3:56 remaining on Stafford’s 11-yard pass to Johnson, who had four Redskins around him as he fought his way across the goal line.
Washington pulled within seven with a field goal with 1:40 to play, but a desperation pass on the game’s final play fell incomplete.
Griffin completed 32 of 50 passes for 326 yards and had his fourth interception of the season, one shy of his total from all of 2012.
He said leading up to the game that he would run the ball more to give his team a spark.
He rushed only six times for 37 yards, including his first carry out of the zone read this season. The Redskins also scored an offensive touchdown for the first time this season.
The Redskins’ defense, which allowed 1,023 yards in the first two games, continues to struggle.
Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 42 passes for 385 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson both had 100 yards receiving for the Lions (2-1).
On a positive note for Washington, DeAngelo Hall recorded his fourth career interception return for a touchdown in first quarter. Hall ran a pass intended for Calvin Johnson back 17 yards for the score early in the first quarter.
It was the veteran cornerback’s 40th career interception — a feat matched by just four other active players: Ed Reed, Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, and Asante Samuel.
A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of last week’s Navy Yard shooting. The Navy Yard Ceremonial Honor Guard presented the colors for the national anthem.
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