Lions get it done without Bush
Bush’s absence in week 3 was made official just a matter of hours before kickoff, and while having the former USC star would have greatly improved the offensive attack, the team managed an impressive 27 points without him, a very encouraging sign.
The Lions hadn’t won a road game since week 9 of 2012, when they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-14. So going into Washington with a desperate 0-2 Redskins team awaiting, the Lions didn’t have an easy road test ahead.
Washington struck first when DeAngelo Hall snagged a Matthew Stafford pass and returned it for a touchdown. Then both teams played close to even for the extent of the first half, going into the break with a 17-14 Lions lead. All in all, the game was incredibly close, with 3 main turning points in the 4th quarter that all worked in the Lions favor.
First there was a key turnover by Robert Griffin III. After a 21-yard run down to the Lions 29-yard line, Griffin lost control of the ball as he hit the ground and the Lions recovered. The score was 17-17 at the time and the Lions turned the drive that followed the turnover into a field goal.
Then there was a 60-yard bomb from Robert Griffin III to Aldrick Robinson, initially appearing to be the play-of-the-game, potential Sportscenter top 10 material, but replays showed Robinson failed to secure the catch, so the Lions remained up front, 20-17.
Directly after the Redskins eventually punted, Matthew Stafford led the Lions on a 71-yard touchdown drive, capped off with a Calvin Johnson touchdown.
Stafford finished the game with 385 passing yards, and Joique Bell filled in nicely for Bush with 63 rushing yards and another 69 receiving yards. Nate Burleson had his best game so far this season with 6 catches and 116 yards, while the Lions also welcomed the return of second-year wideout Ryan Broyles, who added 3 catches and 34 yards to the Lions attack.
On the negative side, the Lions learned that they’ll be without defensive end Jason Jones for the rest of the season after the former Seahawk ruptured his patellar tendon in the second quarter of the game. The team has solid depth on the end, but will need Willie Young and rookie Ziggy Ansah to really step it up in place of Jones in order to continue controlling the trenches.
With Green Bay’s loss to Cincinnati, the Lions sit alone in second place in the NFC North with a pivotal home game against first place Chicago coming up in week 4. Then after that, the team travels out to Green Bay, where the Lions haven’t won a game in years. So while the 2-1 start is a nice follow-up to the 8 straight losses to close out 2012, the real tests are still yet to come.