Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lions Best Friend

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

During the past 2 1/2 years, the Detroit Lions haven't had many good friends.

With records of 0-16, 2-14 and now 2-5, there have been blackouts at Ford Field as a result of an abundance of bad football.

Since the addition of former Georgia Bulldogs QB Matthew Stafford with the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, "The Motown Gunslinger" has caused plenty of aggravation for one team.

Stafford is 2-0 against the Washington Redskins and in each Lions victory, he sent shock waves back to the Nations Capital.

How embarrassing was it for Redskins Nation to lose 19-14 to Detroit on September 27, 2009 which enabled the Lions to snap a 19-game losing streak? Detroit's last win occurred on Dec 23, 2007.

It was so bad that Head Coach Jim Zorn lost his job at season's end following a 4-12 campaign. His QB Jason Campbell, who threw for 340 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, is now with the Oakland Raiders.

Stafford, "The Motown Gunslinger" threw for 241 yards, a touchdown and zero interceptions in the victory in front of 40,896 relieved fans, and the fewest to watch a Lions home game in 20 years.

On Sunday, "The Motown Gunslinger" struck again in his first game back after missing five contests with a separated right shoulder, leading Detroit to a 37-25 win in front of 46,329.

He completed 26-of-45 attempts for 212 yards and four touchdowns, three to receiver Calvin Johnson, plus one to tight-end Brandon Pettigrew.

In addition to Stafford's performance, Detroit's defense had seven sacks, two each from rookie Ndamukong Suh, and veterans Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Busch. Suh now has 6 1/2 sacks this season and when the Redskins benched starting QB Donovan McNabb, havoc occurred again as Vanden Busch forced a fumble on back-up QB Rex Grossman, Suh picked up the football and rambled 17-yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

The Redskins left Detroit with a 4-3 record and even though Head Coach Mike Shanahan won't have to worry about job security, he'll have another headache.

What lies ahead in his working relationship with McNabb? Time will tell.

But meanwhile, despite the fact that the Redskins lead the all-time series with the Lions 27-11 which dates back to 1932, wins No. 10 and 11 were huge for Detroit. Snapping that long losing streak and matching last years win total are building blocks and baby steps to get the team back to respectability.

At least the Lions know what franchise has become their best friend recently and the Redskins were there when they needed them. It won't erase the memories of Detroit's lone NFC Championship Game when the Redskins blasted the Lions 41-10 in 1991 at RFK Stadium leaving Detroit Super Bowl-less.

That's part of the past. It will be interesting to see what happens to the Lions the rest of this season as well as the Redskins.

But for one week, the Redskins had to get hammered by the local media for another embarrassing loss to a struggling but promising franchise led by "The Motown Gunslinger."

The flight from Detroit to Washington D.C. was a long and quiet one for the second straight year.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.


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