Stafford helps Lions end 19-game skid

DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford held his head down on the bench for the final snap.

Dominic Raiola couldn't watch, either, fearing a 20th loss in a row and 100th setback of his nine-season career.

When Detroit's leaders looked up and saw Washington was out of time, they saw what they were hoping to see Sunday.

Lions 19, Redskins 14.

Believe it.


"We not only got the monkey off our back, we got King Kong off our back," said Lions owner William Clay Ford. "I'm hoping that this gets us over that hump and gives us a winning attitude."

Detroit (1-2) hadn't won since Dec. 23, 2007 and its 19-game skid matched the second longest in NFL history. The Lions no longer have to hear about Tampa Bay's record 26-game losing streak.

Raiola blew kisses to the crowd of 40,896 that was the smallest at Ford Field and the fewest to watch a Lions home game in 20 years after time expired with Washington stalled at the Detroit 23.

"I've always watched, but I've never been in this situation before," Raiola said. "No team has been in this situation before. No one has gone 0-16 and then had to try to win a game the next year."

The one benefit of losing every game last season was it gave Detroit the No. 1 pick in the draft and it chose Stafford hoping he would be the franchise quarterback it has lacked for decades. The Lions have won one playoff game and had one Pro Bowl QB since winning the 1957 NFL title.

Stafford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson in the first quarter, drew a 47-yard pass interference penalty to set up a fourth-quarter score and didn't turn the ball over after throwing two interceptions in his first two games.

Stafford smiled as often as any long-suffering Lions fan did on Sunday, playfully sticking out his tongue toward the Detroit sideline, and looked like a 21-year-old kid having a blast.

"I'm having fun," he said. "It's a great game we get to play."

When Stafford isn't playing, he is nervous. That's why he was looking at the turf when the final play started.

"I figured I'd just let the crowd noise tell me what happened," Stafford recalled. "When it got really quiet, I couldn't take it, so I looked up, and saw them running, and then the tackle, and then I saw the clock was at zero."

Following a brief meeting and prayer in the locker room, first-year coach Jim Schwartz sent his players back to the field to celebrate nine months after becoming the first NFL team to have an 0-16 season.

"We went a whole season without feeling like this, so you have to take it in and enjoy," Raiola said.

Washington doesn't have the burden of a long losing streak. It does, though, have plenty of problems.

"You either want it or you don't. A lot of these guys don't want it," Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "They want the other stuff."

The Redskins (1-2) pulled within five points on Jason Campbell's second TD pass with 2:36 left in the game, but couldn't prevent the Lions from picking up a first down that ran time off the clock and cost them three timeouts.

Washington had its last of many chances to win from its 22 with 1:05 left and failed to do much more than scare the Lions by driving into their territory.

The Redskins wasted opportunities all afternoon to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the lowly Lions. Embattled coach Jim Zorn will likely be pressed for answers as he was a week ago after an unimpressive 9-7 win over St. Louis.

Zorn was burned by at least two decisions.

He went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on Washington's first drive and Clinton Portis was stopped.

"I didn't think we'd be denied getting in the end zone and we were," Zorn said. "But there was no way a team could drive 99 yards on us was my thought."

Detroit did.

The Lions drove 99 yards on 12 plays over nearly 6 minutes, capping the impressive drive with Johnson's fantastic catch on a high throw in the end zone from Stafford.

On the possession, Zorn accepted a penalty instead of leaving the Lions with a 50-yard kick. Instead, Stafford ducked to avoid a sack and ran for 21 yards to convert a third-and-13 that set up his TD pass on the next play.

"Jason Hanson was in field goal range," Zorn said. "I just had to pull him back out of it and try to get off the field so they wouldn't get another three points. That was my thinking."

After a week of second-guessing and speculation about Zorn's job security, Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is ready for more of the same.

"It don't matter if Joe Gibbs was here or any All-Star coach, they're still going to point fingers," said Haynesworth, who hurt his right hip in the first half and returned to play in the third quarter.

Do the Redskins still support Zorn?

"I hope so, you only have one head coach," Haynesworth said. "I can't speak for everybody else, but I am."

Game notes
A reporter attempted to approach Redskins owner Dan Snyder after the game, but security wouldn't allow an interview. ... Snyder's friend, Tom Cruise, chatted with Zorn about an hour before kickoff and signed autographs. ... Lions RB Kevin Smith ran for 101 yards before leaving the game with an injured right shoulder. ... The game, which was blacked out on local TV, will be shown on for 72 hours starting at midnight Sunday.