Stafford lifts Lions to 37-25 win over Redskins
Matthew Stafford and Donovan McNabb both got off to slow starts in a scoreless, sluggish first quarter.
Stafford bounced back, finishing with a four-touchdown performance that lifted the Detroit Lions to a 37-25 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
''He might've started off a little rusty,'' said receiver Calvin Johnson, who caught his career-high third TD with 3:12 left. ''But he started throwing darts after that and we started rolling.''
McNabb, meanwhile, watched the game unfold from the sideline with a baseball cap because he got benched.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan put Rex Grossman into the game with 1:50 left and Washington trailing by six points. The backup quarterback fumbled on his first play and Ndamukong Suh returned it to seal the victory.
''I felt with the time and no timeouts, he was the best chance to win in that scenario,'' Shanahan explained. ''Just knowing the terminology of what we've done, how we run it.''
McNabb refused to publicly question the eyebrow-raising choice.
''He makes the decisions, I just continue to go with it and just cheer for my team,'' he said. ''We had opportunities we just didn't take advantage.''
Brandon Banks had one of his kickoff returns for a score negated by a penalty and the Redskins once jumped offsides on an attempted field goal, allowing Detroit to score a TD.
The Redskins (4-4) will have a lot of time to work on correcting their mistakes and likely answer McNabb-related questions.
The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback has his lowest rating since 1999 when Philadelphia drafted him No. 2 overall and he started six games.
Shanahan said McNabb is still the team's starting QB. If that is still true in two weeks after a bye, McNabb will get another chance against his former team when the Redskins host the Eagles in a Monday night game.
There's no doubt Stafford will be under center when Detroit (2-5) hosts the New York Jets (5-2) on Sunday.
The No. 1 pick of the 2009 NFL draft was very productive in his first game since separating his shoulder in Week 1. He was 26 of 45 for 212 yards with an interception to go with his four TDs - one short of his career high.
Johnson had nine catches for 101 yards and said it was ''big'' to have Stafford back.
''There are certain situations where I was just praying and hoping that he was going to see what I saw,'' Johnson said. ''He did, and he was able to stick me with the ball.''
Washington had a 25-20 lead with 4:40 left when Alphonso Smith stepped in front of McNabb's pass at the Redskins 41 to set up the go-ahead TD.
''My arm got hit, so I wasn't able to follow through with the throw,'' said McNabb, who was 17 of 30 for 210 yards with a TD and an interception.
McNabb was benched for just the second time in his career. The other time was two years ago against Baltimore, when he was playing for Philadelphia.
''You just have to learn from it and move on,'' McNabb said. ''I did it then, and I'll do it now.''