Washington Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher is the NFL's active leader in consecutive games played. But even the sturdiest of players needs a breather now and then.
Fletcher left the field several times during his team's disappointing 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. He was replaced by reserve Nick Barnett, who had yet to take the field this season. That's not a common sight even as Fletcher reaches his football old age at 38.
"Just simply made to keep me fresher," Fletcher said. "It was something I decided I wanted to do to let [Barnett] get a few plays and keep me fresher. They rotate running backs to keep them fresher so I decided to rotate the middle linebacker."
Fletcher then flashed a smile. The veteran couldn't have enjoyed watching from the sidelines. He has now started 203 consecutive games and appeared in 243. That ties him with Bill Romanowski for the most by a defensive player since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.
So Fletcher is not one to cede playing time lightly. But after a couple of difficult weeks for the Redskins defense, he was also open to any idea that would help. Did it work at all? Did he feel better?
"I did," said Fletcher, who recorded his first sack of the season on the game's first offensive play. "I thought it helped me just throughout the course of the game."
Redskins rookie tight end Jordan Reed left the game with a thigh injury in the second half. That left Washington down a second tight end after Fred Davis missed the game with an ankle injury.
Defensive lineman Brandon Jenkins also suffered an ankle injury and did not return, but coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't know how serious it was. Jenkins did not return.
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo left the game in the first half to be evaluated for a concussion, but returned to the field.
Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo suffered cramps early in the game, but they weren't responsible for his lack of playing time. Shanahan said that by playing three corners to counteract Detroit's potent passing game, Rambo was the victim of a numbers game.
"We stayed with some of our base defense, but three corners to start the game," Shanahan said. "When you have three corners going in, obviously you've got Josh [Wilson] and [David] Amerson in the game. That was our game plan going in and that's what we stayed with for a majority of the game."
'Megatron' as advertised
Like it is any secret Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is very good. Here are a few numbers to back that up:
• Johnson now has 34 games with at least 100 receiving yards after getting 115 on Sunday. He's tied with Herman Moore for the most in Lions' history.
• Johnson played his 96th career game Sunday. During the game, he went over the 8,000-yard mark and 500-reception mark. It took Moore 99 games to record 100 catches. Only three players to surpass 500 catches and 8,000 yards in fewer than 100 games. The others are Randy Moss (93 games) and Torry Holt (95). He's the fifth receiver to have more than 8,000 yards in fewer than 100 games.
Quite a kick
With kicker Kai Forbath unable to go again thanks to a lingering groin injury, John Potter handled kicking duties for the second straight week. A kickoff specialist, Potter recorded three touchbacks. He also made field-goal attempts from 21 and 43 yards in the second half.
Included among the inactives for the Redskins was Davis, who suffered an ankle injury during practice on Friday and had the injury swell on Saturday. The others: Forbath, quarterback Rex Grossman, running back Evan Royster, safety Jose Gumbs, defensive end Chris Baker, and offensive guard Josh LeRibeus. ...Detroit won a road game against Washington for the first time since the franchise moved to the area in 1937. The Lions had lost the previous 21. ...Sunday's attendance was an announced 80,111, which continued a sellout streak of 379 regular season and postseason games at FedEx Field.
• Mike Harris contributed
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