- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2016

DETROIT | Over the course of his career, Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones has fumbled the ball eight times.

Jones has only played 20 games.

Following two fumbles (one that wasn’t Jones’ fault) on Sunday in the first half of a 20-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, Redskins coach Jay Gruden appeared to bench his starting running back in favor of Chris Thompson.

Jones would eventually work his way back into the regular rotation, as Gruden said he is his starting running back. However, Gruden added one little bit of information that may not favor Jones too well.

“We can’t keep addressing [Jones’ fumbling] though,” Gruden said. “He’s got to understand the importance of the ball.”

Jones’ most costly fumble came on the Lions’ seven yard line — almost certainly taking points off the board for Washington on the Redskins’ second drive of the game.

Several Redskins players didn’t directly blame Jones’ fumble on the loss of the game, but did admit that it certainly had a role in the result.

“It played its part in the game,” Redskins’ running back Robert Kelley said. “But we came back in the second half and had a chance to win. I think we’ve just got to pull it out.”

Redskins defensive end Chris Baker didn’t believe the fumble completely changed the momentum of the game.

“This is a game full of ups and downs, you know, you’ve just got to go out there and make it happen,” Baker said. “If the offense turns the ball over, it’s our job to hold their offense to three points or less, and I think we did a pretty good job of holding their offense in check.”

Davis breaks out in Reed’s absence

Tight end Vernon Davis, filling in for the injured Jordan Reed, finished with season highs in receptions (six) and receiving yards (79). His 79 receiving yards were his most since Week 15 of the 2013 season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers (79). On a 22-yard reception in the first quarter, Davis (6,064) became the 13th tight end in NFL history to record 6,000 career receiving yards.

Cousins racks stats

Although he had the fumbled handoff with Jones, Redskins quarterback Cousins completed 30-of-39 passes for 301 yards with one passing touchdown and no interceptions. He finished the game with a passer rating of 106.9, his third passer rating of 100 or better this season.

It was also his 15th career 300-yard passing game, including postseason play, moving him ahead of Joe Theismann for sole possession of second-most in team history.

Cousins has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 22 of 23 regular season games since he became the starter prior to the 2015 season.

Sack attack

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked three times: Once by linebacker Preston Smith, his first of the season; once by linebacker Trent Murphy, his sixth; and once by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who has had a sack in three straight games.

Kerrigan also extended his iron-man streak, starting his 87th consecutive regular season game, second-most among active NFL linebackers. Kerrigan has not missed a start in his NFL career.

Garcon streak alive

Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garon extended his streak of consecutive regular season games played with a reception to 93 — the sixth-longest active streak in the NFL. Sixty-five of the games in Garon’s streak have come with Washington, the third-longest streak by a member of the Redskins since the 1970 merger.

Injury report

The Redskins suffered critical injuries to both their offensive and defensive units.

Josh Norman exited the game in the third quarter after hitting his head hard on the turf. Norman was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.

Trent Williams also left the game within the final two plays of the contest.

“Trent Williams had a knee sprain,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ll get an MRI on him tomorrow.”

Additionally, cornerback Bashaud Breeland briefly exited the game with a left ankle sprain. Guard Brandon Scherff suffered an AC sprain in his left shoulder. Scherff said he suffered the injury after falling on the ground following a block. Scherff was able to return to the game.

• Tommy Chalk can be reached at tchalk@washingtontimes.com.

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