It had been 385 days dating back to Oct. 27 of last year since the Detroit Lions last won a football game at Ford Field. Detroit dropped the first three home games this season, but got back on track at home Sunday in dramatic fashion with a 30-27 win over Washington on a walk-off Matt Prater field goal. The win improves Detroit's record to 4-5 on the year.
After Washington had tied the game at 27-27 with 16 seconds left, this one looked like it would be heading to overtime. But Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hit rookie wide receiver Quintez Cephus for 10 yards to the 35-yard line and Detroit called a quick timeout. The Lions were then gifted 15 yards on the next play on a late hit from Chase Young on a Stafford incomplete pass.
That put the ball at the 50. Stafford then completed a quick 9-yard pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. to the Washington 41-yard line and called another quick timeout with three seconds left. Prater did the rest from there, nailing the 59-yarder as time expired.
Washington came into the game with the league's No. 1 passing defense at just 185.6 passing yards allowed per game. They also were fourth with 27.0 sacks. Give Detroit's offensive line a lot of credit in this one for keeping Stafford clean (one sack), which allowed him to throw for 276 yards and three touchdowns.
Rookie running back D’Andre Swift had a terrific all-around game for Detroit, rushing for 81 yards on 16 carries (5.1 average) and catching five passes for another 68 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown in the third quarter running over a defender at the 4-yard line to get into the end zone.
Stafford also hit Marvin Hall on a 55-yard scoring strike and Jones for a 27-yard touchdown.
Credit Washington for making it a game after Detroit led 24-3 into the third quarter. Washington reeled off 21 straight points to tie the game at 24-24 with a little over six minutes left.
Detroit needed some Stafford and Prater late-game heroics to come out on top in this one.
QB comparison: Stafford completed 24-of-33 passes for 276 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 127.8 passer rating.
Washington's Alex Smith completed 38 of his 55 passes for 390 yards with no touchdown passes or interceptions for a 89.2 rating. He was making his first start in two years since suffering a devastating leg injury.
Promising trend: Minnesota rushed for 275 yards in a win over the Lions last week. Teams aren't going to win many football games when they allow that kind of production to opponents on the ground.
Detroit was much better in that regard against Washington Sunday, allowing just 89 total rushing yards. Washington was led in rushing by rookie Antonio Gibson's 45 yards on 13 carries.
Worrisome trend: The Lions held a commanding 24-3 lead in the third quarter. For whatever reason, the Lions have lacked a killer instinct at times this season with the lead.
They had some untimely three and outs on offense in the second half, and the defense was too soft and had some untimely penalties down the stretch. They were able to pull out the win, but it was closer than it probably should have been.
Injury report: Lions starting nickel cornerback Justin Coleman left the game in the first half with a knee injury and was listed as questionable to return, but he came back to start the second half.
Veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola left the game in the fourth quarter with a hip injury and did not return.
Next week: at Carolina (3-7)