The Detroit Lions dropped to a new low on Sunday, losing to a hapless 1-9 (now 2-9) Washington team. They just made far too many mistakes on a day in which they actually did some good things on both sides of the ball.
Here’s how the whole thing happened.
Much like last week, the Detroit Lions defense started the a boom. After forcing a fumble on Ezekiel Elliott last week, the Lions strip-sacked Dwayne Haskins on the first drive of the game, giving Jeff Driskel great field position to start.
Detroit would manage one first down from there, but after two failed runs on first and second down, Driskel checked down for a completion well short of the sticks. Unfortunately for Detroit, a gust of wind took Matt Prater’s 39-yard field goal attempt wide right, and it remained scoreless after one possession on each side.
Washington would respond with a long 7+ minute drive. Picking up two third-and-9s along the way, Haskins extended the drive with a nice 18-yard scramble. Eventually, though, Washington struggled in the red zone after Haskins missed a few wide-open throws, and they would have to settle for three. 3-0 Washington
The Lions were able to move to midfield after a couple of nice runs, as the game quickly turned over to the second quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Driskel found Kenny Golladay on an out route, and Golladay ran for 34 yards, putting Detroit in the red zone. But Detroit couldn’t punch it in and settled for another field goal attempt. This time, he was good from 24. 3-3.
After a solid kickoff to start the game Washington returner Steven Sims made an even bigger one on the next kick. After initially muffing the kick, Sims picked it up and went 91 yards for the score. 10-3 Washington.
Driskel would pick up a big gain on the next possession on a pass to Marvin Hall on a third-and-11. However, on the very next play, he tried to go deep to Hall again, and was picked off by Fabian Moreau. Washington took over on their own 11-yard line.
From there, the Lions defense got a three-and-out, and a good return by Hall got Detroit the ball back around midfield. However, Scarbrough fumbled on the first play of the drive, making it two straight possessions with a turnover.
Haskins found Terry McLaurin for a 26-yard gain, but Washington couldn’t manage much else. Again, they had to settle for three. 13-3 Washington.
Detroit drove their way down to Washington’s 32-yard line, but back-to-back negative plays—a 1-yard loss on a run and a sack—pushed them out of field goal range. The Lions would punt, pinning Washington at their own 5-yard line with just over two minutes left to play in the half.
After a three-and-out on defense, the Lions would get the ball back at their own 42-yard line with over a minute remaining. A sack would set the Lions back in the downs, but they got close enough to settle for a field goal and bring it to one score before the end of the half. 13-6 Washington.
The Lions kicked the second half off with an impressive drive. Bo Scarbrough added 43 rushing yards, as Detroit drove deep into Washington territory. Facing a key third-and-1, Driskel found a wide-open Logan Thomas on a beautiful play-action fake. 13-13.
Detroit’s defense would get a quick stop. However, Marvin Hall decided to field a punt inside the Lions’ 5-yard line and that would prove to be a costly choice. The Lions started at their own 2-yard line, and although they picked up a couple first downs, they would end up punting, giving Washington the ball back at their own 21-yard line.
But a quick three-and-out thanks to a Jarrad Davis sack on third down gave the Lions good field position.
Starting at 50-yard line, Detroit continued to put in work in the ground game. 7-yard rush by Scarbrough. 11-yard pickup by Driskel on the read option, and suddenly the Lions were in position to take their first lead of the game as we moved to the final quarter of the game.
A clutch third-down play to Logan Thomas got the Lions in a first-and-goal situation, but Detroit stalled from there, and settled on a chip-shot field goal to take their first lead of the game. 16-13 Lions.
It looked like Washington was about to pull out of their offensive rut, but then rookie cornerback Amani Oruwariye picked off this third-down pass on a heck of play:
But a first down holding penalty on Rick Wagner set the Lions back, and they could not recover. A quick three-and-out put the pressure back on the defense.
The defense was up to the task. A holding penalty aided them, as did a big overthrow from Haskins, but the Lions got the three-and-out they needed to get the ball back with a lead and 7:30 remaining.
Detroit failed to run much clock, though. On a third-and-5, Driskel was sacked by an unblocked defender. Luckily, Graham Glasgow was there to recover the fumble, but the Lions defense would need another stop.
Washington picked up a big play on first down, with Adrian Peterson making a 22-yard catch and run to move Washington to midfield. They would drive further and face a key third-and-4 play, where Haskins just overthrew McLaurin for a potential game-winning touchdown. Instead, they kicked a field goal and tied it up with 1:49 remaining. 16-16.
Jeff Driskel proved on the last drive of the game that he is not Matthew Stafford. He nearly threw a game-sealing pick on one play, then on the next he ensured that it happened. Driskel was picked off by Quentin Dunbar at his own 46-yard line, putting Washington in position to win with 48 seconds left.
This time, on a key third-and-5, Haskins didn’t miss an open McLaurin for 17 yards. This put Washington in field goal position, and Washington nailed the 39-yarder to take the lead with 16 seconds left. 19-16 Washington
Driskel threw another pick to add to the horror as the Lions’ desperate comeback attempt never even came close.
The loss drops the Lions to a horrid 3-7-1. Matt Patricia and this coaching staff have a lot of things to figure out about this team as they head into meaningless football in December and beyond.
If you’re reading this paragraph hoping I’m going to sell you on watching the Detroit Lions’ Week 12 matchup against Washington, you are going to be very disappointed. Sure, there are plenty of reasons to watch, but the reasons to skip it probably outnumber them. Hell, there’s Seattle vs. Philly on at the same time. Or you could plan a trip to the cider mill one last time.
But if you want to see through this painful season, I’m not going to stop you. In fact, I appreciate the company and, hopefully, your patronage to this site throughout the finale few weeks of the season.
Jeff Driskel and the Lions hope to get back on the winning end of things after losing six of their last seven. In order to do so, they’ll have to take down a Washington team whose only win of the season came against a Miami Dolphins team that looked like they were staring down the barrel of 0-16 until a few weeks ago.
But Detroit is beat the hell up, and Washington is not, so you never know what is going to happen on gameday.
Here’s how to watch:
How to watch Lions-Washington
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: FedExField — Landover, MD
Week 12 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber, Lindsay Czarniak
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Lions by 3.5