The Detroit Lions are home for the second straight week, but are still seeking their first win of the season. This week’s foe is another NFC East team, the Washington Commanders. The Commanders are 1-0 after a come-from-behind victory last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quarterback Carson Wentz threw two second-half interceptions, but made up for it with two fourth quarter touchdowns, including the game-winner with under two minutes remaining.
The Lions will be missing three of their starting five starting offensive linemen, including Pro Bowlers Frank Ragnow and Jonah Jackson. That leaves reserve offensive tackle Dan Skipper sliding inside to start at left guard—a position he hasn’t played since the preseason several years ago. Additionally, the Lions will be without starting cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
But despite it all, the Lions are still slight favorites to beat the Commanders. Perhaps that is due to the Lions taking the Philadelphia Eagles all the way to the final snap last week in an entertaining 38-35 shootout.
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The Lions offense started with the ball, just like last week. But unlike last week, the Lions offense didn’t put up any points on their opening drive. In fact, Detroit went a quick three-and-out after Jared Goff took a sack on third-and-long preceded by a false start on Penei Sewell.
But the Lions defense answered with a quick three-and-out of their own. Carson Wentz, too, was sacked on third down after failing to find anyone open. Aidan Hutchinson was the one to finally bring him down.
The Lions were the first to notch a big play on the day when Goff found a wide open Amon-Ra St. Brown for 49 yards on that third-and-3.
That got the Lions down inside the 25-yard line. They could only muster seven yards on the next three plays, eventually settling for a 35-yard field goal, and Austin Seibert drilled it. 3-0 Lions.
The Lions defense kicked off the next drive by forcing Wentz to get uncomfortable in the pocket. Malcolm Rodriguez came firing in and Wentz threw the ball away to nobody, drawing an intentional ground penalty that cost Washington 12 yards. That was it for the drive, as Washington punted after three plays again.
Detroit took over on their own 43-yard line to try and add to their lead. D’Andre Swift wasted no time getting Detroit into scoring position, taking the opening handoff for 50 yards down to the Washington 7-yard line.
Detroit failed to get it in on three plays, so they ended up going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 3. But Goff missed DJ Chark and the Lions turned it over on downs, tallying zero points despite the big play.
Backed up against their own end zone, the Lions again brought the heat, and this time Charles Harris got to Wentz’s blindside forced the ball loose, as it bounced out of the end zone for a safety. 5-0 Lions.
Kalif Raymond took the ensuing safety punt all the way down to the Washington 31-yard line, giving the offense a prime opportunity to make up for last drive’s failure. A pass to Craig Reynolds got Detroit down into the red zone. And on a third down, Goff lobbed a jump ball to St. Brown who leaped up and came down with it. 12-0 Lions.
Washington would fail to pick up a first down in the opening quarter, as they went three-and-out for the third time following a Wentz overthrow with Jeff Okudah in tight coverage. A short punt set the Lions up at their own 42-yard line as the game moved to the second quarter.
On the final play of the quarter, Goff connected with Josh Reynolds for a chunk 23-yard pickup.
The Lions tried a tricky flea flicker play to DJ Chark to open the second quarter, but it was well defended by Washington and fell incomplete. Detroit’s two following rushes were well short of the first down, forcing Seibert to attempt at 48-yard field goal. It was good. 15-0 Lions.
Washington continued to lack an answer for the Lions defense, as Hutchinson’s second sack of the game forced Washington into a third-and-long, and they were well short of the stick on the checkdown, still seeking their first first-down of the game.