Page last updated on Sun Dec 21 10:50:30 EST 2014
09/22/2013 11:18 PM EDT
RG3 bobbles, Lions rally to top Redskins 27-20
DETROIT 27, WASHINGTON 20
By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Robert Griffin III went head-first instead
of sliding, so when the ball popped out it was a fumble.
Aldrick Robinson had a touchdown catch in his hands, but he
couldn't quite maintain possession as he hit the ground in the
Thanks to the turf, the Detroit Lions have ended more than 70
years of road failure against the Washington Redskins.
Detroit beat Washington 27-20 Sunday with big days from Matthew
Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson and those two
fourth-quarter Redskins bobbles, the kinds of breaks that had
eluded Detroit (2-1) in the nation's capital since Franklin
Delano Roosevelt lived on Pennsylvania Avenue.
"You never know how the cookie's going to crumble, and it feels
good that it crumbled our way this time," Detroit cornerback
Rashean Mathis said.
"I wasn't a part of the past, but I am part of the future, so it
feels good to give the fans something to feel good about, and we
can demolish a record, our streak, that was going on for years
and years and years."
Detroit's last road victory in the series came in 1935 against
the Boston Redskins, two years before the move to Washington
(0-3). That 21-game streak was the second-longest in NFL
History was at play in other ways. The "Calvin Johnson rule" -
in which a receiver must maintain possession of the ball all the
way to the ground when falling during a catch - worked in favor
of the Lions for a change.
The rule was named after Johnson after he had a catch in the end
zone overturned three years ago against the Chicago Bears.
This time it was Robinson who wasn't quite able to keep the ball
from coming loose after hauling in a pass from Griffin for an
apparent 57-yard touchdown. The score would have given the
Redskins the lead with 9:05 to play, but it was overturned by
"I'm not known for my calm or anything like that," Detroit coach
Jim Schwartz said. "But if that hadn't got overruled, I would
have had a difficult time. I might have had a conniption or
whatever that is."
Then there was Griffin, who finally resembled the RG3 of last
year when he scrambled to make something out of nothing with a
21-yard run deep into the opponent's territory with the score
tied in the fourth quarter.
But the ball jarred loose as Griffin stumbled forward to give
himself up at the 30-yard line. The play would have been ruled
dead if he had slid, something he said he would do more often
Because he was going head-first, it became a fumble recovered by
"It's the rule. It can be a (bad) rule, but it's still one of
the NFL rules, and they said it's a fumble," Griffin said. "So,
it's unfortunate, and I've just got to make sure if I dive
forward, hold onto the ball. ... It was really unfortunate that
we lost the game on two calls, two judgment calls."
On the next play after Griffin's fumble, Johnson started a drive
with a tiptoe catch along the sideline, and David Akers ended it
with a 28-yard field goal with 11:08 to play to give the Lions
the lead for good.
After Robinson's non-catch, Detroit got an 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
Johnson had 115 yards receiving, tying Herman Moore for the
franchise record with 34 career 100-yard receiving games.
Nate Burleson had 116 yard receiving, and Stafford completed 25
of 42 passes for 385 yards against a defense ranked by far at
the bottom of the NFL after two weeks.
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's the first player in Redskins history to throw for
300 yards in three straight games, a byproduct of spending most
of his time this season playing catch-up.
Griffin said leading up to the game that he would run the ball
more to give his team a spark, but he rushed only six times for
37 yards, including his first carry out of the zone read this
The Redskins also scored an offensive touchdown for the first
time this season, but they're nevertheless 0-3 for the first
time since 2001.
"The food isn't going to taste that good tonight," Washington
cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "Still trying to wrap my head
around what we can do to get better."
Notes: Lions DT Jason Jones ruptured his left patella tendon in
the second quarter and is out for the year, and RB Reggie Bush
missed the game with a left knee injury. ... Redskins injuries:
LB Brandon Jenkins (right ankle), TE Jordan Reed (bruised right
knee). ... Washington K John Potter made two field goals subbing
for Kai Forbath (groin), TE Fred Davis missed the game with a
sprained ankle. ... 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
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
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