Lions top Redskins 20-17 on Stafford's late TD pass to Boldin
DETROIT (AP) -- The Washington Redskins rushed Matthew Stafford with just three players on his last snap. And, he made them regret it.
Stafford threaded a sharp pass between a lunging linebacker and a blanketing cornerback to Anquan Boldin for a go-ahead, 18-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to lift the Detroit Lions to a 20-17 win over Washington on Sunday.
"We should have blitzed seven or eight," Redskins coach Jay Gruden lamented. "But we were playing coverage that we've been playing for a long time and guys were comfortable with. (Linebacker) Will Compton missed it by a fraction of a hair."
Boldin, a 14-year veteran, got just enough separation to get away from rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was pressed into a larger role because Josh Norman was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
"He kind of slow played his guy in the slot," Stafford said. "I cut it loose and I kind thought to myself, `We're going either win the game or lose the game on this one.' It was a tight window. And, I'll take that every time. If I throw an interception right there, it's on my back. I'm fine with it, being aggressive and trying to score."
Detroit (4-3) has won three straight thanks in large part to Stafford making clutch throws in the final minutes, giving him 24 career wins with game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
The Redskins (4-3) looked like they were going to extend their winning streak to five when Kirk Cousins scored a go-ahead TD on a 19-yard run with 1:05 left, but they couldn't stop Stafford. He opened the game-winning drive with a 23-yard pass to Marvin Jones, then ran up the middle for 14 yards and connected with former Redskins receiver Andre Roberts on a 20-yard catch before throwing the TD pass to Boldin.
Here are other things we learned from Detroit's win over Washington:
The closely contested, low-scoring game included just two turnovers and Washington had both of them. Cousins fumbled in the third quarter at the Detroit 38 and Matt Jones fumbled into the Lions end zone late in the first quarter. After each turnover, the Lions made a field goal on the ensuing possession.
"Without question, that was a key," Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said.
The Redskins may want to get the ball into the hands of receiver Jamison Crowder and running back Chris Thompson more often the rest of the season. Crowder had season highs with seven receptions and 108 yards, 1 yard from matching his career high set last year as a rookie against Dallas. Thompson set career highs with 12 carries and 73 yards rushing. He also had a season-high seven receptions for 40 yards, seemingly playing a larger role after Jones fumbled. Gruden insisted Jones was not demoted during the game.
"I'm not going to give up on him for fumbling," Gruden said.
Stafford has the most completions (2,410), yards passing (27,890), 350-yard passing games (18) among NFL quarterbacks in their first 100 games.
"I think I'll look back on it when I'm done playing and I'll really appreciate it," Stafford said.
HE'S STILL GOT IT
With Washington tight end Jordan Reed out for a second straight game because of a concussion, Vernon Davis made the most of his opportunity. The 32-year-old Davis had season highs with six receptions and 79 yards receiving, one week after having 50 yards receiving and a TD.
Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins had been almost perfect this season, missing only one of his 16 kicks. He matched his number of misses at Detroit, hitting the top of the left upright on a 45-yard attempt in the second quarter. Gruden, though, wasn't blaming his kicker for the setback.
"We missed a field goal and there are things in all three phases we can correct," he said.