The Detroit Lions finally snapped their winless streak in the Capital with a 27-20 victory over the Redskins.
Without running back Reggie Bush the Lions needed a strong effort across the board, and that is exactly what they got.
Starting with Bush’s replacement Joique Bell I could not be more pleased. He rumbled for 132 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown to boot. Bell broke tackle after tackle making every yard well-earned leaving not a hint of fluke. This guy is one rugged football player who will continue being one half of a frightening thunder-and-lightning backfield once Bush returns.
At quarterback Matthew Stafford has recaptured his 2011 form. The yardage pace is as high as ever, and with only two interceptions through three games his decision-making is no longer a detriment. He threw for 385 yards on Sunday, albeit against an anemic Redskins secondary, but unlike last year these weren’t junk yard gains.
Leading the way was wide receiver Nate Burleson with 116 yards on six receptions, but more on him later. Calvin Johnson did his thing grabbing seven for 115 yards and a touchdown and now has over 500 career catches with over 8000 receiving yards making him the third receiver in NFL history to do so with fewer than 100 games played.vvAdditionally, undrafted rookie tight end Joseph Fauria tallied his 2nd touchdown of the season and gave an *NSYNC tribute as an encore to his first celebration dance. Finally, wide receiver Ryan Broyles caught three passes on 34 yards in his season debut after being out from an ACL tear suffered last season.
The team isn’t constantly playing from behind anymore causing Stafford’s passing attempts to reduce from last season’s 727 record-breaking number. A newly-found rushing attack and better defensive play are to thank for that as the Lions are simply a better team all-around than in seasons’ past.
On the other side of the ball the defense played stingy holding the Redskins offense to only 13 points. Rookie defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah continues to look like a stud notching two sacks on the day. Fellow end Willie Young also had himself a great game pressuring Robert Griffin III with four quarterback hits, one of which caused a forced throw resulting in a Chris Houston interception.
The bad news of the day was crushing as defensive end Jason Jones ruptured his patella tendon. The hybrid lineman is out for the season according to multiple reports.
The Lions will have to plug Israel Idonije into the starting lineup with Jones’ absence. Idonije is a fine player worthy of starting on most teams, but the loss of Jones will be a major hit to the depth and versatility of the defensive line.
Now we go back to Burleson. Nate drove into the median at I-696 West in Farmington Hills, Mi., early this morning breaking his arm in two places. While this is bad news for the Lions football team, let us all be thankful he just broke his arm because the consequences could have been much worse. Burleson is a standup gentleman on and off the field with an endearing sense of humor and self-deprecating persona. He is a true leader that the Lions will be more than happy to have on the sidelines until he is ready to come back on the field.
Burleson goes in for surgery tomorrow which will determine an estimation on the length of time he will be out. According to ESPN’s Stephania Bell this type of injury is likely to take at least eight weeks to fully heal.
In the meantime multiple reports have the Lions inquiring about possible trades to replace their number two receiver. The highly-regarded but troubled youth Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns is the top name to be thrown out thus far. Keep an eye out to see if the Lions will replace Burleson through a trade, free agency, or just staying put.
The Lions head home to take on division-rival Chicago Bears in next week’s 1 PM matchup.