The Bell Tolls: Lions win rare road game; Washington 0-3
The Detroit Lions, who have taken to traveling for road assignments as well as B.A. Baracus did on The A-Team, had no reason to believe their away woes would not befall them in the D.C. area on Sunday. Not only had they never won a game in and around the nation’s capital in their history, but one of their best offensive players after the first two weeks of the 2013 season was not in uniform.
As the Lions – and the rest of the NFL world – were quick to find out, anything is possible when going up against this Washington Redskins defense.
Joique Bell , replacing an injured Reggie Bush in the lineup, totaled 132 total yards as the Lions ended a 73-year hoodoo by defeating the Redskins 27-20, the first win on the road against the franchise since 1935, when they defeated the Boston Redskins.
An already beleaguered Skins defense had the unenviable task of trying to stop the Matt Stafford-Calvin Johnson – which they did not do (Johnson: 7 receptions, 115 yards, TD) – but at least should have been buoyed by the absence of Bush. But that was before Bell started to break as many would-be tackles in the first two quarters as the yards Washington has given up over the first three games, an NFL-record-worst 1,464.
At 2-1, the Lions are positioned to have what would be considered a very successful first quarter of the season if they defeat the Chicago Bears at home on Sunday. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, for all of the championships he was won in his illustrious career, must be having flashbacks to 2008, his last season in Denver, when the team’s exceptionally potent offense (second in the NFL in yards gained) was overshadowed by its even more exceptionally rancid defense (29th in yards allowed, 30th in points allowed) in an 8-8, playoff-less campaign. Urged by Broncos owner (and dear friend) Pat Bowlen to shake up the coaching staff after that season, especially on the defensive side of the ball, Shanahan stayed loyal to then-defensive coordinator Bob Slowik…and was fired for it. How long before the same situation presents itself in D.C. with Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett? It might be this second, especially if RG3 and the offense, which looked as good as it has been from start to finish this season, is not able to kick it in high gear and provide the stop unit with a three-month get-out-of-jail-free card – essentially what the offense did from Thanksgiving on last season.
If you have not done so already, please view the live report from FedExField (above), which includes a one-on-one with Lions running back Joique Bell.