The Detroit Lions fell to the Washington Redskins on Thursday night by a score of 21-17, but the performance of their starters was quite encouraging. I say that because the theme of the first part of this game was Robert Griffin III getting repeatedly hung out to dry by his offensive line and dominated by the Lions' defense. Don't believe me? Here are some highlights from the first four drives of the game for the Redskins:
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III got absolutely abused in the first half vs. the Lions. Here are all the hits he took: pic.twitter.com/FjbSrk3pES— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) August 21, 2015
Through 4 possessions, Washington has 24 yards rushing, -8 passing, one lost fumble.— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) August 21, 2015
The numbers don't even do it justice. Guys like Tyrunn Walker, DeAndre Levy and Phillip Hunt teed off on Griffin III and eventually knocked him out of the game with a stinger and a possible concussion. It was a rough night for the Redskins' starting quarterback, to say the least.
In between making life miserable for Griffin III, the Lions opened the scoring with a 49-yard field goal by Matt Prater. They later added to their lead with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Dan Orlovsky to Jeremy Ross about halfway through the second quarter. The TD came after Griffin III fumbled the ball while scrambling, leading to a Gabe Wright recovery. The turnover gave the Lions excellent field position, and they quickly capitalized.
The Redskins answered with an impressive scoring drive with Colt McCoy now in at quarterback. The Lions just couldn't get on the same page defensively, and Washington really carved up Detroit's defensive backups. Eventually, Matt Jones scored from a yard out to cut the lead to 10-7.
The Redskins nearly took the lead before halftime before a pretty crazy finish to the second quarter happened. With first-and-goal at the 1-yard line with only 2 seconds left on the clock, the Redskins opted to go for a touchdown. However, McCoy fumbled the ball, and Travis Lewis eventually ended up with it. He had an opportunity to return the fumble and potentially lateral the ball to get the Lions into the end zone, but that ultimately did not end up happening.
Washington finding new and creative ways to turn the ball over. pic.twitter.com/51KKMc9PXM— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) August 21, 2015
The Lions' struggles on defense continued in the second half with McCoy leading another touchdown drive on Washington's opening possession of the third quarter. McCoy found Reggie Bell for a 19-yard touchdown, giving the Redskins a 14-10 lead.
Much like Washington earlier in the game, the Lions quickly answered with a touchdown drive of their own. It was the Zach Zenner show on this possession, as he got things rolling with a 36-yard reception on a wheel route. Later in the drive, after a 19-yard pass to Vernon Johnson moved the chains on third down, Orlovsky found Zenner for a 5-yard touchdown.
Once again, the Redskins answered the Lions' touchdown with one of their own. This time, Kirk Cousins led the Redskins 80 yards over 14 plays, and he capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass. This put Washington on top 21-17, and that ended up being the final score after the Lions failed to find the end zone with Kellen Moore attempting to lead a comeback in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
Next week, the Lions will go back on the road for a matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars in their "dress rehearsal" for the regular season. That game is set for Friday night at 8 p.m. ET, and CBS will broadcast the proceedings nationally.