Nothing can be taken for granted with a rookie quarterback, as long as there is time left on the clock.
We learned that again from Dwayne Haskins’ performance late in the game in the Washington Redskins’ 19-16 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Among the other things we learned include the following: There were bright spots in the gloom of the Lions’ fourth straight loss; winning the stats battle doesn’t always lead to winning the game; losing the turnover battle often leads to losing the game; and no matter what, the traditional Thanksgiving Day game adds something to a game, and that’s the case again this year.
View photos from the Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins Week 12 game at FedExField on Sunday, Nov. 24 2019 in Landover, Md.
We start with Dwayne Haskins:
Haskins has been heavily scrutinized – and heavily criticized – from the day the Redskins drafted him in the first round in April. And going into Sunday’s game he hadn’t done much to quiet the critics. In four games, with two starts, he had two touchdown passes and five interceptions.
And overall, he didn’t add much to his bottom line against the Lions: 13-of-29 passing for 156 yards and an interception. His passer rating for the game was 47.5.
When the Lions took a 16-13 lead on Matt Prater’s field goal with 12:01 left, it seemed like the Lions could keep the door slammed on Haskins’ emerging to lead a comeback.
Before the Redskins last two possessions, Haskins had passed for 88 yards, with seven completions in 20 attempts.
Haskins led the Redskins to the tying and winning field goals in the last two minutes on drives of 54 and 33 yards. He completed six of his last nine passes for 68 yards.
It was nothing that will make anyone forget Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien, quarterbacks who led the Redskins to their three Super Bowl championships.
But once again, we learned not to take a quarterback for granted.
Bright spot: Running back Bo Scarbrough would qualify as a bright spot. He backed up his 55-yard rushing performance against the Cowboys the previous week with a game high 98 yards on 18 carries. That showed that he was not a one-game wonder.
Now he has to prove he’s not a two-game wonder – or a wonder of any kind, but a back who can produce consistently in his role.
Stats battle: The Lions had the advantage in yards (364-230), first downs (21-13), possession time (33:30 to 26:30) and third-down conversions (six of 15 to four of 14).
That did not add up to winning. The Lions had a missed field goal on their first possession and gave up a touchdown on a 91-yard kickoff return.
Turnover battle: The Redskins had a 4-2 advantage, and that proved to be decisive. The Lions lost a fumble on a first down at midfield (Scarbrough), and quarterback Jeff Driskel had three passes intercepted. Haskins lost a fumble and had one interception.
Turnover margin is one of the key stats in determining wining and losing, and the Lions lost big on it.
Thanksgiving Day: There’s a bigger buzz surrounding the game in some years than others, and Thursday’s matchup between the Lions and Bears is one of the years when the tradition sells the game.
The Lions are just about out of playoff contention with a 3-7-1 record, and the Bears are barely on the fringe of contention at 5-6.
Regardless of the records, it’s a special game because of the holiday tradition that began in Detroit in 1934, and the day’s other events in downtown Detroit.