- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2009

FIRST QUARTER

What happened: Washington’s defense looked stout early, forcing Detroit to punt. And Washington came out throwing it, working from multiple shotgun sets; the Redskins threw on eight plays on the drive. But the drive ended on the 1-yard line with Clinton Portis getting stuffed trying to run left on fourth down. That gave way to the Lions, who went the entire length of the field — aided by two Washington penalties — for the game’s first score, a 21-yard Bryant Johnson touchdown reception.

Analysis: This quarter will be remembered for two things: the fourth-and-goal call from the 1 and the ensuing Lions drive. While the fourth-and-1 is gutsy and certainly appeals to a certain segment of the game’s fans and followers, sometimes you just have to take the points you’ve been handed. The Lions’ touchdown made it look even worse, as did the Redskins’ penalties that aided them down the field. Washington also got killed on two third-and-long plays, including a 21-yard scramble by Matthew Stafford on the play before the touchdown.

BY THE NUMBERS


7 Plays in which quarterback Jason Campbell lined up in the shotgun formation during the first quarter. He completed one pass.

SECOND QUARTER

What happened: Washington quickly gave the ball back to Detroit, which kept chewing up the clock. With running back Kevin Smith doing the bulk of the damage, the Lions drove 11 plays and 74 yards - taking up 5:26 - before kicking a field goal to go up 10-0. Then, it was like instant replay: Washington gave the ball back after a three-and-out, and Detroit went on its third scoring drive that nearly went the length of the field. The Lions finished the drive - and the half - with another Jason Hanson field goal to take an improbable 13-0 lead into the locker room.

Analysis: There were a lot of bad signs for the Redskins in this quarter, not the least of which was Albert Haynesworth getting carted off the field. Washington ran all of six offensive plays, while Detroit used the rest of the quarter on two scoring drives. The Redskins couldn’t sustain a drive of their own or get the Lions off the field. Six times on third down, the Lions converted for a first down (failing just twice before kicking field goals). One good sign: a relatively quiet start for Detroit’s Charles Johnson.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 Completions (out of five attempts) for Jason Campbell for 21 yards. The only other play, a Portis run, lost 3 yards.

THIRD QUARTER

What happened: Washington started with the ball and immediately drew a penalty for illegal motion. But they took that setback and worked around it with a long Clinton Portis run on first down and, two plays later, a 57-yard touchdown reception by Santana Moss — finally getting on the board. Detroit answered with a long pass to Calvin Johnson that was called back for offensive pass interference. Also, Albert Haynesworth returned to the game. But nearly as soon as Washington got the ball, Campbell followed completions to Moss and Cooley with one to the Lions’ Ko Simpson. The quarter ended with another Detroit punt that landed the Redskins deep in their own territory.

Analysis: The Redskins finally showed some life, taking the ball swiftly down the field for a score on the team’s first drive. It also showed how much the offense has missed Moss, who was largely absent from the first two games; he remains their most explosive player. And though Haynesworth returned briefly, the defense lost middle linebacker London Fletcher to a rib injury — an injury that would be harder to overcome than Haynesworth’s.

BY THE NUMBERS

57 Yards on Jason Campbell’s touchdown pass to Santana Moss, Washington’s longest play of the season.

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