Lions Den: Stafford Clutch Late, Lions Win Third Straight

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Matthew Stafford took the Detroit Lions on a last minute touchdown drive to secure a 20-17 victory over the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on Sunday.

The first half was a bit of a defensive struggle with the halftime score being 3-3, but in the second half the teams aired it out a bit more.

Stafford finished the game with 266 yards and one touchdown. The highlight of Stafford’s day was a six play, 75 yard drive that ended with an 18-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left in the game. That drive marked Stafford’s fourth game-winning drive of the year and came right after the Redskins took the lead 17-13 on a Kirk Cousins 19-yard scramble for a touchdown with 1:05 left in the game.

The Lions didn’t run the ball effectively as they finished with just 94 rushing yards. Justin Forsett led the backs with eight carries for 33 yards and Zach Zenner had nine carries for 29 yards and a touchdown.

The turning point in the game was an injury to Washington’s star cornerback Josh Norman. Norman left the game in the third quarter with a concussion and the Lions took advantage of his absence. Stafford began airing it out and the Lions’ offense was moving the ball more effectively.

Lions receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate had great games as both gained over 90 yards receiving and combined for 10 catches on 17 targets. Boldin finished with three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Over their their three game winning streak, the Lions have made great defensive plays to end the game and that didn’t change this week. Detroit stopped Washington’s final drive of the game when Tahir Whitehead tackled Vernon Davis on the final play of the game. Whitehead was Detroit’s leading tackler, finishing the game with 12 tackles and one pass breakup.

The Lions’ front seven played well throughout the game, holding Washington’s starting running back Matt Jones to 27 yards on 10 carries. Backup Chris Thompson rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries. The Lions’ defensive line was shooting gaps and making great plays to stop the Redskins’ rushing attack.

The Lions’ secondary had a rough game, allowing Cousins to throw for 301 yards and a touchdown. Jamison Crowder led all Redskins receivers with seven catches for 108 yards. At times, Washington had receivers open all over the field and Cousins made them pay. Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Rafael Bush led the secondary with six tackles apiece.

Detroit will look to build on their now-three game winning streak when they travel to Houston next Sunday to take on the Texans at 1 p.m. on Fox.