The Detroit Lions got off their two-game losing streak. It wasn’t pretty. It didn’t come without some serious struggles. And it looked like they were about to blow a game in which they had a 21-point lead against the Washington Football Team. However, Stafford pulled out a ridiculous comeback and Matt Prater, in his 100th game as a Detroit Lion, was your hero on Sunday.
Here’s how it all happened.
The Lions won the toss and deferred, giving Alex Smith the first opportunity to strike in his first start of the season. Things were looking promising for Washington to score their first points on an opening drive of a game this season, but Detroit’s defense produced back-to-back negative plays to push Washington out of field goal position. First, Everson Griffen blew up a reverse, with Reggie Ragland cleaning it up for -10 yards. Then, on third down, Romeo Okwara sacked Smith for -14 yards.
Though the Lions had some poor field position, their offense came out swinging. With D’Andre Swift making his first career start, Detroit’s running game got off to a promising start. His first three carries went for 32 yards. With the run established, Matthew Stafford uncorked a pass deep, and found a wide open Marvin Hall 55-yard score. 7-0 Lions.
Washington would respond quickly with a field goal after an end around to Terry McLaurin went for 27 yards. However, Detroit’s defense stiffened up in the red zone, and the Football Team had to settle for three. 7-3 Lions.
Detroit’s offense was able to draw to midfield thanks, in part, to a roughing the passer penalty on Washington. Detroit couldn’t convert on third-and-4 at midfield, and punter Jack Fox pinned the Football Team deep. From there, the Lions were able to force a three-and-out, thanks in part to a third down pressure from Reggie Ragland.
The Lions immediately took advantage of the favorable field position. After Adrian Peterson rushed for 17 yards on two carries, Stafford found a wide open Marvin Jones Jr. for a 27-yard touchdown on a third-and-10. 14-3 Lions.
Washington took the ensuing kickoff to midfield, giving them a great opportunity. After converting a fourth down, the Football Team were in field goal position, but Detroit got a stop and kicker Dustin Hopkins pushed a 43-yard field goal wide right.
Detroit fell back on run-run-pass tendencies, and quickly gave the ball back to Washington with 6:33 left to play in the half. Washington, again, was in position to score, but Terry McLaurin fumbled on Detroit’s 30-yard line and it was recovered by Jamie Collins Sr, who also forced the fumble.
Matthew Stafford drove the Lions into field goal position, but after an odd ruling on an illegal forward pass, Detroit stalled. Matt Prater, playing in his 100th game as a Lion, drilled a 53-yarder to push the score to 17-3 Lions.
With the ball to start the second half, the Lions had an opportunity to stretch their lead to three scores. D’Andre Swift was huge in the passing game, first taking a screen pass for 25 yards on a second-and-20. A handful of plays later, Swift caught a pass on a third-and-6 and took it in for a 15-yard touchdown. 24-3 Lions.
Down 21, Washington picked up the tempo, going no-huddle in their first possession of the half. It seemed to work quite well, as they moved down field with relative ease. However, they did face a tough fourth-and-13 play, only to find Logan Thomas for 15 yards. On the very next play, J.D. McKissic waltzed in for an easy 2-yard score. 24-10 Lions.
Detroit’s offense responded with a three-and-out after failing to convert on a third-and-2 play. And just like that, Washington had the ball down just two scores with a minute left in the third quarter.
Continuing with tempo, the Football Team just gashed the Lions defense with a ton of underneath yards. And as they got into the red zone, Antonio Gibson punched it in from two yards out, and suddenly it was a one-score game. 24-17 Lions.
Detroit’s offense answered with another three-and-out, and Washington’s offense continued to drive with no pushback from Detroit. Three straight touchdown drives for the Football Team.
- 11 plays, 82 yards, TD
- 11 plays, 84 yards, TD
- 6 plays, 66 yards, TD
And just like that a 21-point lead was gone. 24-24 tie.
Swift willed the Lions to finally stop the bleeding and put an end to Washington’s 21-point streak. With a mixture of rushes and catches, Swift drove the Lions into field goal territory. Unfortunately, things stalled from there, and they settled for a Matt Prater 37-yard field goal, giving the Lions the lead with just over 2:30 left. 27-24 Lions.
Even though they were backed up, Washington was able to drive the field in one of the oddest two-minute drills you’ll see. At one point, Alex Smith threw eight straight incomplete passes, but two defensive penalties on the Lions extended the drive, including one very ticky-tacky pass interference call on Desmond Trufant on a fourth down that would’ve ended the game. Washington would eventually kick the game-tying field goal with 17 second left. 27-27- tie.
The Lions would not rest on their laurels with 17 seconds left. A roughing the passer penalty gave Detroit life, and a pass to Marvin Jones Jr. gave Matt Prater a shot at a 59 yarder for the win.
Lions win an ugly game.