Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to the Lions

Best and worst moments from the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to the Lions at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday.

Best homecoming performance: With dozens of friends and family members in the stands, it appeared former Holland (Mich.) Christian High and Michigan State star Kirk Cousins would be a winner in his first pro game in his home state. Cousins, who completed 30 of 39 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown, gave the Redskins a 17-13 lead on a 19-yard QB keeper with 1:05 to play.

Worst spoiler: The Lions still had all three timeouts and Matthew Stafford — he of the 23 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime — at quarterback. The Redskins were without Josh Norman, who left the game in the third quarter with a concussion. Anquan’s Boldin 18-yard touchdown catch with 16 seconds to play capped a six-play, 75-yard drive that effectively spiked Cousins’s homecoming punch and ended Washington’s four-game winning streak.

Best catch: Former Redskins receiver Andre Roberts had an awful drop in the first half, but hauled in a 20-yard completion with his fingertips on Detroit’s game-winning drive.

Worst pressure: After sacking Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz five times last week, the Redskins managed three sacks of Stafford, but couldn’t get to him when the game was on the line.

Best illustration of the Redskins’ for most of the game: Washington’s offense looked dreadful against a mediocre Lions defense before coming alive in the fourth quarter. After Detroit took a 10-3 lead in the third quarter, Washington moved the ball to the Lions’ 34-yard line. On third and one, Cousins tripped over center Spencer Long’s foot and fumbled the ball while trying to hand it off to Matt Jones. Kerry Hyder recovered for the Lions, who took a 13-3 lead 10 plays later on a 27-yard field goal by Matt Prater.

Best answer: Cousins responded by leading a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a one-yard pass to Robert Kelley. The backup running back’s first career touchdown cut the Lions’ lead to three with 8:20 to play.

Worst miscues: Washington got the ball to start the second half and moved into Detroit territory for the fourth time in five possessions following Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson’s first catches of the game. Two false starts and a drop by Jamison Crowder on a perfectly placed pass over the middle led to a Tress Way punt. It probably didn’t help that, perhaps due to issues with his headset, Cousins was forced to run to the sideline to get the play call from Jay Gruden twice on the drive.

Best outlet: That third-quarter drop aside, Crowder was Cousins’s most dependable target. He finished with seven catches for 108 yards.

Worst party: Norman didn’t get the chance to “open a keg on the field” and drink it, as he told USA Today last week of his next planned celebration. After holding Marvin Jones Jr. without a catch in the first half, the Lions receiver beat the Redskins’ top cornerback for a 52-yard completion on Detroit’s next drive. Norman remained down for several minutes and was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.

Worst streak-ender: Four plays later, Zach Zenner gave the Lions a 10-3 lead with a one-yard touchdown run. It was the first touchdown allowed by the Redskins’ defense in 26 drives and the first second-half touchdown allowed by Washington since Alfred Morris’s go-ahead touchdown run in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 2 loss to the Cowboys.

Worst half: There were jokes all morning about the poor quality of the product the Giants and Rams put on the field at London’s Twickenham Stadium, but that game wasn’t any less exciting than the first 30 minutes that transpired at Ford Field. At halftime, Washington and Detroit had combined for six points and 302 yards.

Best points: The Redskins tied the game, 3-3, on a 38-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins on the final play of the first half.

Worst doink: Hopkins, who has been a kicking machine through six games, missed for only the second time this season earlier in the quarter, when his 45-yard attempt bounced off the left upright. Blame Dan Steinberg.  

Worst protection: The Redskins didn’t allow a sack for the first time since Week 1 in last week’s win over the Eagles and were looking to avoid allowing a sack in consecutive weeks for the first time since the 2006 season. Alas, Cousins was dropped for a nine-yard loss on Washington’s first possession and got to him again in the second quarter. Both times, all-pro left tackle Trent Williams was beat on the play.

Worst ball security: Coming off the best game of his young NFL career, Jones fumbled on two of his first five carries against the Lions. The second-year back got lucky on the first one, recovering his own fumble on a handoff, but his second fumble proved costly. With Jones fighting for extra yards near the goal line, the ball squirted out of his grasp and into the zone, where it was recovered by Detroit’s Tavon Wilson.

Best way to wind up on the bench: Jones, who has averaged a fumble every 26 carries in his career, was replaced by Kelley on Washington’s next possession, but returned to the game late in the second quarter. He finished with 27 yards on 10 carries.

Best running back: Chris Thompson led the Redskins with 73 yards on 12 carries and also had seven catches for 40 yards. 

Worst luck: Golden Tate’s 16-yard catch on a deflection off Bashaud Breeland’s back kept Detroit’s second drive of the game alive.

Best stand: The Redskins forced Detroit to settle for a 49-yard field goal attempt by Prater, who made your typical college kicker look like Adam Vinatieri with a that-had-no-chance shank.

Worst scares: Redskins offensive lineman Brandon Scherff left the game midway through the second quarter with a left shoulder injury, but later returned to the game. Trent Williams had to be helped off the field late in the fourth quarter with a knee sprain and will have an MRI on Monday.

Best tight end: With Jordan Reed out for a second consecutive game with a concussion, Vernon Davis had six catches for 80 yards. Davis also had a 27-yard catch negated by an illegal formation penalty in the fourth quarter.

Best stop: Will Compton helped the Redskins stuff the Lions on third and short with less than 10 minutes to play in the first half, forcing the Lions to settle for another field goal attempt. This time, Prater was good from 43 yards, giving Detroit a 3-0 lead.

Worst jumping the gun: Now here’s something for Stephen A. Smith to yell about Monday on “First Take.” (There was a 92 percent chance the Redskins would win when Stafford took the field for Detroit’s final drive.)

Worst trash-talker: Smith didn’t waste any time rubbing in the Redskins’ loss after feuding with Chris Baker and others on Twitter about the way Washington celebrated its win over Philadelphia last week.

Worst results: The Giants and Eagles both won Sunday. The NFC East-leading Cowboys are on bye. No one said repeating as division champs would be easy.

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